About two million workers may not get a bonus this Christmas as businesses struggle to keep operations afloat during the pandemic.
Sergio Ortiz-Luis, president of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), at a virtual briefing of the #PinasMunaTayo #ShoPinas campaign, said this is on top of the number of workers who have received their bonuses in advance as a relief early in the lockdown in March.
Ortiz-Luis appealed to companies especially the larger ones and which can afford it to help their workers and be more generous during the holidays.
“Companies are working together so we can open the economy and give more jobs… For now, what’s important is workers get their pay,” Ortiz-Luis said, adding that most of the upper small, medium and large enterprises heeded the appeal of the government to give their workers’ Christmas bonuses in advance.
“At the end of the day, businesses are also struggling,” he added.
About 90 percent of enterprises are micro in size and 50 to 60 percent of them account for all the jobs in the country.
As it is, almost half have closed due to the pandemic, according to Ortiz-Luis.
“Even before this pandemic, the attrition rate in micro enterprises is big. A lot of them close shop though quite a number also open up every year,” Ortiz-Luis said.
He added:” We are just hoping big companies which have deeper pockets will be extra generous. Before this pandemic, they have been giving up to 18th month pay.”
Ortiz-Luis said business welcomes the fact that inflation remains steady which will ultimately benefit consumers for their purchasing power during Christmas.
He expressed hope more businesses will open before the holidays.
In the same briefing, Trade Undersecretary Ruth Caselo said prices of basic and prime commodities will remain stable through the Christmas season but luxury and premium items may see some adjustments.
Castelo said consumer behavior may change this season as people are more conscious in spending due to uncertainties.
She said Filipinos tend buy products like food and home improvements.
Castelo said gift-giving will be more practical as people will buy useful items that are more affordable.