Amid quarantine work suspension, here’s how some startups and SMEs support their workers

May 1, 2020 - 12:33 PM
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Market goers
Market goers at Brgy. Quirino 3A in Project 3, Quezon City observes social distancing in this photo taken March 22, 2020. (The STAR/Michael Varcas)

Despite the suspension of onsite work operations amid the enhanced community quarantine in Metro Manila and some provinces, some startup companies and small and medium enterprises (SME) are making sure the well-being of their workforces is taken care of.

The halt of onsite daily business operations has affected the job security and financial stability of thousands of Filipino workers ever since the quarantine took effect in a bid to reduce the transmission of the COVID-19.

Others have temporarily lost their regular means of income, making this year’s Labor Day harder to celebrate. However, there are employers who continue to support their human resources through various means despite the temporary cease of operations.

Star 8 Green Technology, the leading provider of modern and eco-friendly public utility vehicles under the government’s PUV (public utility vehicle) modernization program, is still fully paying its employees and offering them financial assistance amid the cease of the mass public transport.

The company also continues to provide its workers with free online training so that they could enhance their skills and knowledge despite the halt of daily operations.

Meanwhile, the management of iPrice Group Sdn Bld, a startup online shopping aggregator based in Kuala Lumpur with Filipino workers, has taken 25-40% pay cuts to ensure that their employees wouldn’t have to suffer.

“The leadership team believes that in order to maintain productivity, layoffs and unpaid leaves are not the solution to keep the business going,” Marjorie Mae Mendoza, an overseas Filipino worker who is also the content team lead, said in a statement.

iPrice also offers “stay at home” coupons to the public which can be used to earn discounts in online groceries, food items and other essentials.

Esports International, Inc., a medium-sized enterprise that aims to promote the culture of wellness and active living among Filipinos, also released its workers’ monthly salaries in advance before the quarantine period.

Its management also took pay cuts to advance the employees’ 13-month pay. The latter is similarly set to receive their unused sick leave and vacation leave pay as well.

A Philippine overseas land-based manpower company, InterAsia Outsource, Inc., likewise made it a point to supply its workers with a monthly supply of rice worth P2,000 that are delivered straight to their houses.

The firm also took care of the overseas Filipino workers it has deployed and had them safely repatriated amid the global health crisis by securing their flight tickets and coordinating with their families.

On the other hand, Logistics provider Transglobe Logistics International, Inc. is still continuously paying its employees despite 95% of the medium-sized business’ clientele temporarily shutting down due to the threat of COVID-19.

“We still made it a point to still be able to pay our employees as long as we can, including the few that are ‘on-call’ even if there is practically no work to be done,” Timothy Kairuz, the business development manager of the firm, said in a statement.

Engineering company Geographic Resources United Pan Pacific, Inc., a firm that provides installation of various equipment in different industries, is also compensating its employees amid the “zero operations” due to the lockdown.

Workers are also provided with financial loans and allowances for their essential needs, while those who are stuck in the metro are provided with shelter and sustenance.