Nearly all businesses provided aid for workers — survey

Free COVID-19 vaccines were the top support given by companies to regular employees. — COMPANY HANDOUT

NEARLY ALL businesses provided support for their workers despite the economic challenges brought by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, according to a survey among business groups.

The survey showed 99% of the 200 respondents said their companies extended some form of support for their regular employees, while 71% said they did the same for contractual employees. Only 65% said they gave support for workers hired through agencies.

“The survey results show that Philippine Business, in this pandemic, is a caring, nurturing and compassionate sector in our society. This reflects the true character of the good Filipino: caring, nurturing and compassionate,” Rex Drilon, chairman of the Shared Prosperity subcommittee of the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), said in a statement.

Conducted from April 6 to May 16, the survey covered 200 respondents, mainly from the MAP, Makati Business Club (MBC) and Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines (FINEX).

The survey showed that while 61% of the respondents posted lower revenues due to the pandemic, but 55% said they maintained their workforce or even hired more.

“For employees, support was strongest for regular employees across different classes of companies. For agency and contractual employees, companies gave support especially if they were large, presumably because of more resources, or they managed to boost revenue,” the report said.

Free COVID-19 vaccines were the top support given by companies to regular employees. The survey was conducted at the time when the government’s vaccine rollout did not cover frontline personnel in essential sectors.

Less than half or 45% of the respondents said they continued to pay non-reporting regular employees, while 31% said they did the same for contractual employees and 30% for agency workers. The survey showed 43% of the respondents gave special financial assistance, cash advances and loans for employees, while only 27% extended the same to contractual employees and 25% for agency employees.

“Support provided for contractual and agency employees are almost the same, except less on flexible work arrangements,” the survey said.

For external stakeholders, the survey showed 34% of the respondents provided support for suppliers and contractors in the form of materials, logistics and advanced payments.

Also, 52% of the respondents gave assistance to clients and customers, such as extended payment terms, discounts, and waived rental payments.

The survey also showed that 73% of respondents extended support for healthcare workers, 69% released assistance to low-income communities, and 33% provided aid to other organizations. The support for healthcare workers were mostly donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) and meals, but others also provided medical, testing, and quarantine/isolation facilities as well as accommodations.

Majority or 85% of the respondents believe work-from-home and flexible work arrangements will continue, while 28% expect to continue providing financial and other aid to employees.

“The Philippine private sector always plays an outsize role in helping government respond to crises: this is already automatic,” Francisco Ed. Lim, former MAP president and current FINEX president, said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave