Sunday, April 12, 2015

BPOs and lactation periods

Hello World! It's been a while. I have a lot of things I want to write about but reality got in the way.  I've taken on a more challenging role at my day job and the blog suffered.  However, the desire to write about breastfeeding and help fellow breastfeeding mothers is still there and is calling out.  So here I am trying to blog again.  Anyway, if you have specific questions you want to be answered, shoot me an email - latch[dot]jenny[at]gmail[dot]com and I will do my best to answer.  Please note also that I may choose to publish the query and reply in my blog - anonymously unless the writer prefers to be identified.
Let's get started.  Remember my post about companies who do not want to follow Republic Act No. 10028? Well, a query was posed by a breastfeeding mama (BM) working in a business process outsourcing company (BPO) who already spoke to her HR about the implementation of the lactation period but was met with stiff opposition.

In a meeting with her HR and her company's lawyer, BM was informed that since BPO workers are already entitled to two (2) 15-minutes paid breaks, each paid break will be increased by 5 minutes (resulting in 2 20-minute breaks) to comply with RA10028. BM was not happy and was able to obtain a DOLE opinion saying that the 40-minute minimum lactation period is on top of the 2 15-minutes paid breaks.    However, the company did not want to recognise the DOLE opinion as it came from a web-based (gmail) account.

I made inquiries with the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns and Bureau of Working Conditions and received the same reply.  While RA10028 requires the 40-minute lactation period on top of meal periods, for BPOs, the 40-minute lactation period is also on top of their 2 15-minute paid breaks.

What to do next?  DOLE recommended that BM write to Director Catherine Pavado, Director of the Bureau of Working Conditions  or to their general BWC email and ask that the response be written in the official DOLE letter head and signed.  DOLE explained that the reason why they use web-based mail is to be able to respond to questions of the public faster.  However, if the public wants the reply to be in an official DOLE letterhead, it is also possible but there will be some lead time.

Meanwhile, if the company still refuses to follow, the employee can report to the DOLE Field Office - NCR or to the National Conciliation and Mediation Board. DOLE has adopted SEnA - the single entry approach to check employer's compliance with labor standards. The employee fills up this form and submits it to the DOLE Field Office where her place of work is located.  The employer will be assessed if the policies they have are at par with the law. There is a mandatory conciliation within 30 days to address the problem. This will allow the employee to address her concerns without the need for litigation.

Update: 4 June 2015.  DOLE has released its guidelines on how to seek exemption.  Read the guidelines HERE.

Questions?  Email me at latch[dot]jenny[at]gmail[dot]com.

Please be advised that while I am affiliated with LATCH as a peer counselor, all comments and statements in this blog are purely my own. Further, none of the information provided here is offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. You should not act or rely upon any information in this site without first directly consulting legal counsel of your own.

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