Fetalvero: Complex businesses, and that simple ‘thank you’

PROFIT or social responsibility? This question came after Senate president Vicente Sotto III brought up the proposed bill granting 14th Month Pay to minimum wage earners.

The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) welcomed the proposed legislative measure saying that the 13th Month Pay that is already in place purportedly to benefit the labor force, is no longer enough considering the high cost of living. A 14th Month Pay should enable the working force to make ends meet, so to speak. A shoe-string budget is not even a matter of sustainable survival. It is a dog-eat-dog kind of subsistence.

The employers group readily reacted saying that should it be enacted into a law, some companies and retail factories might be forced to reduce labor force resulting into massive retrenchment. Other businesses remained silent, thinking perhaps that the additional cost of benefit will be passed on to consumers anyway.

Given this possible scenario of another price hike of commodities, who stands to lose or gain? There may be employers who could ask for an exemption. Should several seek exemption to the law, there will only be a few who could possibly benefit.

Employers’ narratives regarding the repercussion of additional cost of benefit is not new. Retrenchment have always been a threat to any labor benefit adjustment. However, social responsibility calls upon employers to set aside profit and instead consider that an employee or a simple factory worker has opportunity and security of tenure in mind when taking a job.

Haley A. Beer, a professor of University of Warwick, and Edward Gamble of Montana State, both authors of “What Business Can Learn from Buddhism,” wrote that millennials have a different attitude to work than their elders. They want to work for organizations committed to values and ethics, where there is a higher purpose than simply making a profit. This attitude may have stemmed from the teaching of the fourth largest religion in the world which is Buddhism. Apply this kind of approach to business management, and this will translate to a good socio-economic practice.

Most of our businesses are owned by Chinese entrepreneurs. We rely upon their goodwill to make the lives of our fellow Filipino citizens productive. Some Chinese came to our country with a dream to improve their lot and are now successful entrepreneurs. Giving back is not only the appropriate thing to do but a moral and ethical way of saying “thank you” for the opportunity.


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