Re-electionist Senator Joel Villanueva on Sunday, May 1 said that a “post-pandemic Filipino workforce” is emerging in the country coming from the past two years and is bound to influence a shift in Philippine labor policy and business practices.
As such, Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Labor and Employment, said the government should catch up in addressing their concerns.
Villanueva warned it is crucial that the government and its policies “should not be out of touch” with the current mindset of the “post-pandemic Filipino workforce” and proactively anticipate broad changes in their needs and behaviors.
“We are seeing the rise of health and well-being as a priority in the Filipino workplace because of the pandemic. It has reached a level where employees will resign or change jobs if employers do not meet employees’ expectations of a workplace, which is taking care of employees’ physical and mental health, as well as work-life balance,” Villanueva said in a statement.
The senator cited a recent 2022 World Trend Index (WTI) by the technology company Microsoft, where it was reported that nearly half or 49 percent of Filipino employees hired during the pandemic are already considering changing jobs.
The survey also reported that 67 percent of Filipino workers are likely to prioritize their health and well-being over work more than before the pandemic, higher than the global trend of 53 percent.
The WTI also found that 20 percent of Filipino employees say they actually left their jobs in the past year.
“Our task now as policy makers is to figure out how to maintain productivity and grow the economy while accommodating the changes in the physical, mental, and emotional needs of the workforce,” Villanueva said.
The report also outlines findings from a study of 31,000 people in 31 countries, with at least 1,000 full-time workers as respondents coming from the Philippines.
Villanueva, author and sponsor of the work from home law, also noted that 60 percent of Filipino workers in the survey say they are considering a switch to remote or hybrid work in the next year.
But the same study found that 69 percent of business leaders in the country say their company is planning to require employees to work in-person full time within the next year, and only 38 percent of them have created arrangements with their employees for alternative work arrangements.
“We should act fast and think progressively to close this disconnect between the interests of industry and workers. For example, businesses should work with the government for the full implementation of the Work From Home Law,” he suggested.
“ We also have the Tulong Trabaho Law for skills training and upskilling our workers for whatever job they want. We must understand that employees nowadays do not work for wages alone,” said Villanueva.
According to Villanueva, the government should take its cue from Concentrix, a BPO firm of 100,000 workers in the country, which decided to maintain work from home or hybrid work arrangements for their employees rather than avail of tax incentives from the government.
Concentrix reportedly made this decision after the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) gave BPOs the ultimatum for their employees to physically return to working in their offices starting April 1 or lose tax incentives under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Law.
“It’s a classic case of the government falling behind innovations. The innovation that we need now should be focused to benefit the post-pandemic workforce,” Villanueva said.
“Concentrix should be emulated rather than penalized for listening to their employees,” the senator said.