Under-pressure business process outsourcing (BPO) firm Alorica says it will be paying out a special care package today of US$100 (approximately $13,500) to its staff members who are unable to work from home during its current closure.
Alorica was ordered closed by the Ministry of Health and Wellness last Sunday after two members of its nearly 800-strong staff tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
Since then more than half the staffers have reportedly been tested with 84 returning positive results for the virus.
In a bid to reduce the pressure on its staff, the company announced Saturday night that the special one-off payment will be made today to those who are unable to work from home.
“This care package is not a salary, but our way of providing you with some additional funds to help support you in getting what you need while you’re unable to work,” the company said.
Alorica also committed to ensuring that all staff salaries remain at 100 per cent of current basic rates, while the current employment contract remains in place until the end of the month, by which time the management is hoping to decide on a possible early resumption of production.
According to the company, the employees who currently work at home will continue to do so, and receive regular pay, and the opportunity to earn more through their respective programmes, according to the terms of their employment contract.
All payments will be made via bank transfer on pay-days, and Alorica said that it will communicate any further developments, on or before April 30, while it is actively seeking solutions to transition more employees to work from home, which is understood to be affected by the unavailability of needed technology.
“We will continue to work closely with the Government, health organisations, and industry associations to ensure we act in the best interest of our people, the community, and our clients,” the company said.
“We know times are tough right now, but we want to reassure you that you’re not alone, we’re thinking of you, and trying to find every possible way to support you. Please continue to remain calm, safe, and kind to one another,” the company said.
In the meantime, Gloria Henry, president of the Global Services Association of Jamaica(GSAJ), which represents some entities in the local BPO sector, is urging the Government to enact even more rules to govern their operations.
“We are calling on the Government to ensure that they [BPOs] are a part of the association, so that they can benefit from the guidance that they need to protect the welfare of their employees,” Henry told the Jamaica Observer via telephone.
She said that the Government could mandate, through the Special Economic Zone Act, that call centres be a part of the association.
According to Henry some entities operating locally which claim to be BPOs are not.
“I can’t speak for those entities that are not a part of the association and not everybody who says they are a BPO is in fact a BPO,” declared Henry.
“The public seems not to make any distinction between BPO companies and that is something that needs to happen where people need to understand that one company is not the sector.
“One entity that is operating as a BPO company is not the sector, it is one entity and when an entity offends, that entity is to be dealt with as the entity. Now, if it becomes widespread then there is cause for concern. I would say that those that are operating under the radar, the Government will have to find a way, through its agencies, to ensure that they operate according to the standards that have been established and by the agencies of Government or the industry association,” added Henry.
Alorica is not a member of the GSAJ.
– Additional reporting by Kasey Williams
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at http://bit.ly/epaperlive