• Miriam files Magna Carta for call center workers


    SEN. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has filed Senate Bill No. 57, or the “Magna Carta for Call Center Workers Act” that aims to protect the interests and welfare of workers in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

    Santiago said her bill promotes low attrition rates and attracts skilled workers to strengthen the local BPO industry, which is expected to generate up to $16 billion and provide 720,000 jobs this year.

    “Once touted as a sunshine industry, the country’s BPO industry has the distinction of both contributing to economic growth and sustaining it through the services it offers. It makes perfect sense that Congress should protect this industry,” Santiago said in a statement issued on Saturday.

    According to her, BPO revenues rose steadily since 2009. Last year, BPO companies were said to have raked in $13.5 billion in revenues —22 percent higher than 2011.

    The Magna Carta enforces the rights of call center employees to, among others, organize and join labor organizations, a safe and healthy working environment and the right to stay in their employer’s premises until daybreak for night shift employees to ensure their safety.

    As basis for her bill, Santiago cited the International Labor Organization’s studies that showed the perils of working in call centers, particularly for those on night shift.

    The study found that 42.6 percent of BPO employees in the Philippines work the night shift. About 47.7 percent of those surveyed for the study suffered from insomnia, while 54 percent suffered from fatigue. They were also found to have other health problems such as eye strain, neck, shoulder and back pains and voice problems.

    “The Department of Labor and Employment and the Department of Health should pay special attention to BPO employees who are vulnerable to health and safety hazards because of its peculiar nature and work schedule. Prolonged computer use and night shift schedules are legitimate health and safety concerns,” Santiago said.

    The bill, originally filed in the 15th Congress, also taps the labor department to put up BPO Help Desks in national and regional offices. These help desks will advise prospective and active BPO employees on the terms and conditions of their contracts.


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    1. Cruzfracitic on

      @Mike: you are not really getting the point do you? Mirriam filed / created this bill for BPO employee’s protection, why are you so affected about it? Obviously you didn’t experience such work, you don’t want to expect an individual Senator to burden all the laws in the world, give her a break MAN! This is not about you it’s for the sake of thousand employees who are giving a rapid improvements to the Philippine economy! Don’t be selfish

    2. @Mike The BPO industry is being managed by foreign nationals and is mainly from British, American or Australian employers. As a Filipino, is it not in your best interest to ensure that your country men are given protection and for their health to be ensured? Most BPO employees are at the age demographic of 20-30. Fresh graduates who seek to be employed in a high income job, leaving behind dreams and aspirations to support their families. These are highly skilled individuals, with most of them college graduates. Is it fine with you to see them denied their rights, and age prematurely with several health problems at such a young age? The youth is taking steps to ensure they can support themselves financially, and the Magna Carta only seeks to protect these workers, especially for call center employees that are not from the big BPOs.

      There is no need to be jealous of the compensation they receive, being compensated well does not mean that they cannot have the right to organize a labor union and to simply have a place to stay in when it is still dark. If you are from the low income sector, simply fight for your own issues to be addressed. There is absolutely no need to criticize a working Senator who has just noticed that there is no specialized law in place to protect BPO employees. Get over your jealousy and that attitude. Shame on you.

    3. With some of highest compensations available, do call-center employees really need more legal protections?

      “Eye strain, neck, shoulder and back pains and voice problems” — are these major health issues that require legislation to address?

      “47.7 percent … suffered from insomnia, while 54 percent suffered from fatigue.” Really? Insomnia and fatigue? I am sure workers from other industries also suffer from “insomnia and fatigue”.

      I think Senator Santiago is going overboard this Senate Bill. There are many workers in other industries that truly require legal protection from environmental hazard and other health issues.

    4. Marcelino Pangan on

      This is the kind of senator we want. One who works to promote the interest of our people. Her act is not easy to follow. May we elect more senators and other government officials like her.