Firms asked to set up day care centers as non-wage benefit for workers

Date Posted: May 17th, 2008 12:00 AM

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) today called on companies and corporations to put up day care or child care centers in their workplaces to form part of non-wage benefits for workers and their families.

Labor and Employment Secretary Marianito D. Roque said the setting up and operations of day care centers in workplaces is part of the DOLE's efforts to promote non-wage benefits and help workers cope with pressures brought about by oil price hikes and the consequent rise in prices of goods and services.

Roque said the DOLE Regional Offices, under the family welfare program (FWP), will intensify their campaign for the establishment of day care centers especially in companies with more women workers to help them lessen the expense of early childhood education and ensure the children's safety and health.

He said that putting up childcare facilities benefits employers in terms of sustained efficiency and productivity of workers who would no longer be saddled by family and economic pressures in looking after the welfare and safety of their young children while they are at work.

He added that employers also gain tax incentives under Republic Act 8980 or "An Act Promulgating a Comprehensive Policy and a National System for Early Child Care and Development, Providing Funds Therefore and For Other Purposes," which provides that the operating costs of employer or corporate-based day care centers can be deducted from taxable income provided the employer or corporation will not charge user fees.

Earlier, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo instructed the DOLE and the Department of Social Welfare Development (DSWD) to assist companies especially those with many women workers in the setting up of day care facilities following her visit to several firms last month. Roque said the President had asked the employers of the firms she visited to put up day care facilities for their women workers.

The Labor and Employment Secretary said that under the DOLE's FWP, 20 large firms would soon be establishing day care facilities in their workplaces. Among these firms are the Texas Instruments in Baguio City; Smart Shirt at Clark Freeport Economic Zone in Pampanga; Philippine Packing Corp. in Bugo, Cagayan de Oro City; Domingo Teng Fishing, Inc. in General Santos City; and the Bataan Export Processing Zone in Bataan.

Firms with day care facilities already in operation are the Philex Mining Corp. and Lepanto Mining Corp. in Benguet, Unilever Phils. in Manila, and Central Azucarera Don Pedro in Batangas as well as the Tahanang Walang Hagdan in Rizal. Firms with lactating facilities, on the other hand, include the PAPTI, MNTEC, and Mitsuwa at the Cavite Export Processing Zone in Cavite; JAE Phils. At the Gateway Business Park in Gen. Trias, Cavite; and the Liwayway Marketing in Imus, Cavite.

Roque cited these firms for their sensitivity to the immediate need of their workers for facilities that look after their young children while they are at work.

He also commended the Casilayan Softwood Corp. in Agusan del Sur, Pacific Cement Phils. in Surigao City, and Cagdianao Mining Corp. in Surigao del Norte saying the three establishments extended their social responsibility not only to their employees but also to the community by adopting a day care center in their communities. Citing a report from Director Chona Mantilla of DOLE in Caraga, Roque said the three firms provide for needed supplies and the honoraria of volunteers tending the day care centers.

The DOLE Chief noted that these firms set up and operate day care centers in line with the DOLE's FWP. The program, pursuant to DOLE Department Order No. 56-03, seeks the physical, mental, and social well-being of the workers. It has 10 dimensions which shall serve as guide to both labor and management in implementing family welfare projects for the workers consisting of the following: (1) Reproductive health and responsible parenthood; (2) education and gender equality; (3) spirituality or value formation; (4) income generation, livelihood, and cooperative organization; (5) medical health care; (6) nutrition; (7) environmental protection, hygiene, and sanitation; (8) sports and leisure; (9) housing; and (10) transportation.

Roque said employers have options in setting up childcare facilities. They may put up day care facilities at the plant level, link up with community-based day care centers, or establish a common facility for the needed services for their workers. He said the day care center at the Bataan Export Processing Zone, for instance, would be servicing workers of companies in the area. He said the Bataan Tripartite Industrial Peace Council would sponsor the setting up and operation of the center, noting the latter is a product of tripartite cooperation that benefits both labor and management.

Source: Information and Publication Service

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