Tuesday, January 13, 2015


During the holiday season most of us would need to render mandatory overtime because this is the time where high call volumes are expected. Mandatory overtime is a practice that BPO companies implement to save costs because, they don’t have to hire additional employees. To minimize the burden to employees some BPO companies would hire seasonal employees with an employment contract of less than 6 months.

Here’s some excerpts of the explanation from our friends in BPO Workers Organization Page.
"Forced labour takes different forms, including debt bondage, trafficking and other forms of modern slavery." - International Labour Organization (ILO)

Habitual Mandatory Over Time is Not Emergency Over Time.

As a general rule, employees may not be compelled to work in excess of eight hours on any given day against his will.

Two exceptions, usually raised for “Emergency Overtime Work” are Article 89 (e) Labor Code of the Philippines, which states that, “Where the completion or continuation of the work started before the eighth hour is necessary to prevent serious obstruction or prejudice to the business or operations of the employer.” And Article 92 (e) also states that, “Where the nature of the work requires continuous operations and the stoppage of work may result in irreparable injury or loss to the employer.”

To be fair, it should be taken in consideration, that occasionally, management could require you to render overtime work with appropriate compensation. Some exceptional supervisors, would even stay with you through the period being rendered for support. However, rest-day/vacation leave cancellation, pre-planned overtime schedule forecasts, which are being forced on workers to comply with, is also subject to DOLE’s evaluation.

The mere fact that there is a forecast of number of hours required to be rendered by employees, over their regular working hours (ie. 10 hours every week for a month), can and should be looked-into by DOLE inspectors, as this confirms that the management have such forecasts, that could be avoided to satisfy their need for the required hours through hiring more people. By logical reasoning, it should not even be classified as an “emergency”.

Under the circumstances, employees have the option to refuse to render the so-called “mandatory overtime”. Remember that, an employee who spends additional time or day (even worse, night) for work, puts in more physical and mental effort and deprives himself time to spend with family and enjoy the comforts of home. As such, the law discourages employees to work during their rest days, such that the employer cannot compel employees to render work on their rest day.

The management could take it as a case of “insubordination”, but that would still be subject to a legitimate argument, most especially, on cases evident of health degradation or hazard among the employees, and when the “mandatory overtime” has become habitually imposed.

In fact, the OSHC/DOLE representatives, who attended the 1st Multi-Agency Meeting for the Health and Welfare of BPO/Call/Contact Center Workers, confirmed that, “it is mandatory for BPO Companies to submit actual reports on incidences of accident, illness, and disease in accordance to the existing laws, and Department Circular Order/s (particularly No. 10151) and compliance to submission of data is required, non-compliance is punishable in accordance to the law.”

If you experience any BPO or Call Center related labor issues and you need a free consultation please reach out to BPO Workers Organization by checking the details below, you may also send an email to bpoworkersorg@gmail.com

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