I WAS happy to read some weeks ago about the plan of some business concerns to put up a dormitory building for their employees at the Bonifacio Global City.
I do not have the details yet, but this is an idea whose time should have come years back as the Bonifacio Global City was planned. But let us not quibble, the idea if carried out for the genuine benefit of employees, by giving them subsidized rental prices for decent housing during the work week would be a turning point in employee benefits in this country. It should happen as soon as possible under present circumstances
Let us begin with how wages here are not commensurate with the cost of living. An apparently decent salary is eaten up by long commutes which are expensive, or high rentals for substandard housing if the employee does not commute. Meanwhile, the employee is not living a healthy life when the long commutes cause lack of sleep and the poor housing is in noisy or polluted areas of the city, the only places where the rentals are affordable for salaried employees.
In cases like the above, the employee seems to be on a treadmill – earning and spending it all to keep earning. It is no decent life. Due to our poor and unplanned urban conditions, this is the lot of most employees. The city is expensive and even if one meets its costs, one really does not make enough to have savings or a stable and healthy life.
Some business concerns provide shuttle buses for their employees to bring them from their place of work to transport terminals and back, but with the current traffic conditions the service is not enough to alleviate the daily trek of tired employees going home or stressed employees going to work. Employers must do more.
Many businesses are making huge profits but they are not quite sharing them in the form of high salaries, or enhanced basic services that their employees lack because local governments are not able to deliver adequate services. Why then can’t the more profitable business entities help out with educational assistance, medical service, insurance and pensions? The government cannot give these at optimum levels. Taxes are not enough, the population is too large, and government planning is way behind.
Yet, given these conditions of low salaries and too many willing workers chasing after jobs, Philippine corporations are making enough profits to compare with the rest of the world. Except their employees do not compare with the rest of the world in terms of the return for their contribution to the company’s achievements.
I hope that with a project like the planned dormitory for employees, a model will be in place for others to follow not only in terms of housing while working but in many other areas where just a bit of sharing, a bit of effort and maybe a good conscience, employee benefits can be given by profitable corporations in terms of decent daily living. Sharing by businesses can go a long way to giving those who contribute to make them succeed happy. It makes for stability, dignity and a feeling of being justly compensated.