The Philippines’ House Committee on Labor and Employment is considering six proposed measures aiming to improve working conditions in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry. The committee has now conducted its first deliberation on House Bills 156, 661, 662, 2233, 4629, and 5728 which aim to protect BPO workers from illegal contractualization and overwork. Bills 156, 661, 662, 4629 and 5728 will also allow BPO workers to join groups to collectively bargain and discuss workplace issues. Under bills 156, 661 and 5728, company bonds, or the imposition of certain financial penalties on an employee who leaves a firm before a specified term is completed, will become illegal. Once measures are passed, the Department of Labor and Employment will also be required to establish occupational health and safety standards for the BPO industry. The Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research Inc. (EILLER) backs the measures’ key points, but said that the bills need to be improved further.
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