By Leslie Ann Aquino
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello on Thursday thanked companies who committed to give their employees and workers their full pay for the duration of the enhanced community quarantine.
In a statement, the labor chief said these companies are Aboitiz, Ayala, ICTSI/Solaire Group, JG Summit, Jollibee, Lucio Tan, Metro Pacific, San Miguel Corporation, SM, and Udenna Group.
Bello said that in most cases, the employees of these companies will not use up their available leave credits, will be advanced their 13th and/or 14th month pay, and given other financial relief.
“We are grateful to the big businesses who heeded the appeal of the President to take care of their workers and employees during this time of national emergency,” he said.
“Their compassion and good example inspire other enterprises whose source of wealth is the labor of their workforce,” Bello added.
He called on other big enterprises “to take the extra mile” in assisting their workers during this crisis situation.
“I again appeal to our employers not to resort to retrenchment amid the work stoppages, suspension of public transportation, and restricted movement of people in the communities,” said Bello.
“I implore business owners to earnestly find other measures to preserve employment of workers so as not to compound their already dire condition,” he added.
Bello urged employers to release the 13/14th month pay of employees while work is suspended so they can have the means to buy basic necessities.
“The advance payment is a practical response to help our wage earners survive the month-long quarantine,” he said.
The rank-and-file employees union the Kilusan sa Jollibee Foods Corporation-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (KILUSAN-JFC-TUCP) hailed the gesture saying it was a great morale booster to the workers.
Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) president Raymond Mendoza said “the move will create a race to the top momentum and raise the reputation of the Jollibee brand to customers and compel other enterprises to do the same good company deed in the light of looming economic adversity for workers.”
The Associated Labor Unions (ALU) also commended SM Supermalls and Robinsons Mall for waiving the rental fees of mall tenants from March 16 to April 14 to enable these micro and small enterprises pay in advance the salaries and thirteenth month pay of their employees.
The labor group also lauded business tycoon Manny Pangilinan for releasing in advance the 13th month pay for employees of PLDT, Smart, and Manila Electric Company.
“These positive management decisions raises workers loyalty by improving the quality of production and better customer service. The gesture promotes unity and reinforces Filipino bayanihan during these distressful times for workers and families. We urge other companies, big or small, to do the same, to help the workers and their families during these times,” said Gerard Seno, executive vice president of ALU.
With their salaries and benefits assured, workers will comply with the mandatory home quarantine policy and minimize the spread of COVID-19 in communities, he said.