The issue of Job Sub-contracting is a hot-button topic these days and mired in a lot of confusion and misunderstanding. Ruby Canteras Pacis, President and CEO of Faith in God Professional and Technical Services Corporation (FIGRPMPTSC), one of the top Job Contracting and Subcontracting Corporations, wants to clarify a lot of those misconceptions.
While the word “agency” has had a bad rap, not all Subcontracting companies are run skirting legalities and ethics. “We are one of the first few Subcontractors who were given a DO174-17 Certification from Department of Labor and Employment Office,” said Pacis, which is no small feat because the recent purge of Job Subcontractors in the Philippines has seen 4,580 companies downsized to 2,669 when the DO18-A Rules and Regulations on Contracting was enacted, and out of those, only 1,911 have successfully acquired the DO (Department Order) 174-17 license to (as of June 2018). Pacis’ corporation, FIGRPMTSC, is among in the first batch that was given one under the new rules.
“I do not like to be identified as an agency because there’s a wrong connotation with that word,” said Pacis, who went into the business 15 years ago because as a Human Resources Professional she didn’t like seeing employees shortchanged. “We were one of the first Job Subcontractors which implemented the Regularization Scheme. Since the start of our business operation, we include the payment for Service Incentive Leaves and Separation Pay in our billing to all our clients. We provide Security of Employment and Security of Tenure” to all our employees,” specified Pacis. “From day one they work for us. They are already considered on probation.” When a project ends, the employees are either transferred or are given Separation Pay. “That’s the difference between FIG and other companies. It’s why we’re still here,” added Pacis. “We give our employees more than what the law mandates.” They subsidize HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) 70/30 and personal accident insurance also at 70/30, wherein FIGRPMPTSC subsidizes the 30% of the premiums. The company also provides for Christmas Packages aside from the 13 th month pay given every December. Employees are also involved in Corporate Social Responsibility Programs, where they are given the opportunity to find joy in giving, through sharing their talents and skills. FIGRPMPTSC gives focus on highest Attendance Rate and Lowest Attrition Rate by having a dedicated Employee/Client Hotline, Talent Online Community, Work-Buddy System and other specialized Employee Engagement Programs. Pacis wants to ensure that her company always contributes to the highest productivity and profitability of her clients by closely supervising her employees to deliver greater work performance.
“It’s a changing market,” said Pacis, explaining the need for subcontracting in the first place. “The demands of principal’s major clients are not fixed, and sometimes when the business demand is low, the business of the principals is greatly affected due to higher number of regular manpower. It’s where the business flexibility that legitimate subcontractors offer and play a vital role in principal companies. We, in turn, can transfer the employees to another client while ensuring their Security of Tenure”. Pacis emphasizes that the definition of legitimate subcontracting allowed under Department Order (DO) 174-107 of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has several stringent requirements. A legitimate subcontractor uses its own method and equipment while performing the project inside or outside the premises of the principal/client. It has over-all control and direct supervision to its own employees performing the tasks for a specific project. At the same time, the legitimate subcontractor has sufficient capitalization, which, under the law should be a minimum of P5M. On her end, Pacis said FIG is worth P70.5M.
“We have a group of professionals and management team consists of Technical Services or Account Manager, Account Specialist, Health & Safety Officers, and Finance Personnel managing our workforce,” said Pacis. One thing that we consider our edge over the others is that we have our own Training Center equipped with world class facilities and modules where we provide Soft and Technical Skills Training to our employees. This enables our employees to be “Employment Ready” before we assign them to the Projects.” FIG legitimately provides for Merchandizing Support & Services because they have their own Product Retail and Distribution Company. Housekeeping Support and Services among the “cream of the crop” because the company has complete Housekeeping Equipment and Rigid Training under their Property Management Support & Services Company, wherein they provide General Housekeeping and Property Maintenance of Hotels, Condominiums, Apartments, Private Buildings and the like.
With extensive experience in Business Process Support and Contract Manufacturing, FIG is also an expert in providing Back Office Support Services like Recruitment Management, Employee Engagement using Online Platforms, Productivity & Performance Management, Marketing & Sales Management, Process Audit Management and Employee Learning & Training Development and Manufacturing Pre and Post Operation Management Services like Material Handling Services, Warehouse Management using their own equipment like hand tools and Forklift.
Pacis knows that people don’t necessarily understand the nitty-gritty of labor laws and only see the chaos in the news. She said she even talked to a political leader who admitted to her that their impression was that all subcontracting companies were operating illegally and they don’t give Security of Tenure to its employees. What is illegal is if the subcontractor is into labor-only contracting. Explaining further, Pacis illustrated: “Let’s say, a subcontracting company merely recruits employees and allows the clients to manage and control them for five months working along with the regular employees of the principal, doing the same tasks that are directly related to the “core business” of the same then renew its employment contract every five months depriving them of their employees’ rights as mandated by law. That’s not legitimate subcontracting. And FIG doesn’t do it that way. We do not provide employees or workers to our principals, we assign our regular employees to our Project with our principal using our own methods, equipment, tools through our own Management Team.”
FIG is a Project Manager, Solutions Provider and not an employee recruiter. “We have a bilateral relationship with our employees wherein we give KRA (Key Result Area) and KPI (Key Performance Indicator) to them and in the same way, we take care of them and meet their employment needs in order to maintain and retain them in our company,” explained Pacis. There are four points that the law uses to determine who is the employer. Recruitment and Selection, Payment of Wages, Control and Supervision, and the Power to Discipline. FIG assiduously does all that.
What drives Pacis to continue improving and working towards the progress and stability of her company despite the difficulties–especially these days due to misconceptions and wrong notions against the subcontracting field–is her deepest desire to provide long-term eployment, which will result in improved life conditions for the people and improved economic conditions in the country. “I have been a Human Resources Practitioner since 1993, and I never stop learning about Human Resource Management, even now. I saw how some companies shortchanged employees, not always because it is their intention but because of alack of knowledge on Labor Laws and People Management. I wanted to put up a company that would provide job security and employ fair treatment and practices. I prayed about it for two years.” In 2003 she put up FIG, and like most startups, she started in an old garage. “Nobody wanted to put their faith in me because I was so young.” All she had was a capital of P65,000, a genuine desire to provide long-term employment to people, a belief in herself and a strong faith in God.
The company is now worth P70.5M and has four offices in four regions: NCR, Laguna, Pampanga and Cebu, but Pacis said it wasn’t always an easy trajectory. “I have opted to lose millions of pesos, just so I can stick to my principles. The name of my company is Faith In God, I should walk my talk.” She has turned down clients and employers who would bargain with her and offer less than what is mandated by law. This is stealing from the employee, she explained, and sometimes the profits are divvied up by the employer and the agency. “We educate our employees about their rights and remit all their Social Mandated Benefits up to the last centavo,” emphasized Pacis.
Pacis knows her competitors have said things such as, “Don’t do business with her, they’re expensive.” Another one is, “They’re ‘overcharging’”. To which, Pacis answers, “I give SIL (Service Incentive Leave). I give Separation Pay and all other government mandated benefits to all my employees because that is what employees deserve, so I have to include them in my billing to clients.” Companies who do not engage in ethical practices may balk, but she doesn’t want to do business with those sorts of corporations anyway, and there are still big businesses that come to her all the time. “We don’t do 555,” she said emphatically, explaining the notorious practice of agencies and employers of conniving, switching an employee within several agencies after five months so they never get regularized. “Kinakawawa nila ang mga Pilipino,” Pacis said with sadness. It only strengthened her resolve to operate her own business with a strict moral compass.
“It’s not an easy name,” said Pacis of her company, Faith in God. “But everything started from faith. I didn’t have big amount of money when I started, but I had the biggest faith in my heart.” The company wasn’t even supposed to be named that because when she was trying to register a company name at the Department of Trade and Industry, they told her she couldn’t possibly use “Faith in God” because it’s the name of a church. And so, she was resigned to a utilitarian name such as Laguna Recruitment and Placement, or something to that effect. So, no one was more surprised when she got her certificate and read “Faith in God”. The bureaucracy works in mysterious ways, and for Pacis it was a blessing. “I cried,” she recalled.
She took that as a sign. “It’s not much a business but a vocation,” said Glenn Edralin, Assistant Vice-President of FIG. Pacis agreed. “It really is a vocation. Human Resources (HR) is the most powerful department in any organization. It should be. If you are an HR Practitioner, you’re not just an employee advocate, you’re also a business partner. HR is my passion. While she completed a certificate in Applied Master of Business Administration,” Pacis wants to focus more on earning a degree in Organizational Development, People Management, Emotional Intelligence, Employment Readiness and other courses that will equip her in discovering and creating programs that will help motivate employees to achieve their highest productivity and achieve a great work performance because this leads to their own professional advancement. “Yes, I am a businesswoman,” said Pacis, “but I manage my companies with clear objectives and a God-fearing heart.”