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Philippine employers focus on health and wellbeing in the new normal

Insights from the 2020 Restoring Stability Survey

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August 4, 2020

As employers in the Philippines look to restoring stability for their employees and businesses, survey shows that many are enhancing health care and wellbeing.

Key findings – Philippines

  • More than half of employers have made or are planning changes to their benefit programs.
  • Employers prioritize supporting employees by enhancing wellbeing programs, health care benefits and voluntary benefits.
  • There’s an increased focus on wellbeing, particularly to alleviate anxiety by supporting virtual interactions.

Employers in the Philippines have been managing through the COVID-19 pandemic since early this year, longer than many of their counterparts in the region and around the globe. As they now look forward to restoring stability for their employees and businesses, survey findings show that many are enhancing health care and wellbeing.

Roughly 75% of employers have developed a strategy, protocols or a communication plan for reopening the workplace. Seventy percent of employers anticipate a phased or gradual reopening of the workplace. However, 10% said that they can envisage opening quickly (almost all employees reporting at once).

Business impact

More than half of employers think COVID-19 will have a moderate to large negative impact on their business in the next year. In addition, 44% expect a moderate to large negative impact on employee productivity over the next 6 months, while 62% expect a moderate to large negative impact on employee wellbeing over the next 6 months.

To offset these negative impacts, many organizations have taken or are planning or considering these actions due to prolonged economic challenges: Freeze or reduce hiring (70%), Unpaid leaves of absences or furloughs (46%), Layoffs/workforce reduction (38%).

For those employers that are implementing furloughs, the majority will continue to provide benefits such as retirement (92%), medical (100%) and life/AD&D insurance (94%).

Changes to benefit programs

Three in five companies have already or plan to make changes to their benefit programs as a result of COVID-19. Those companies that have had a negative business impact from the pandemic are more likely than those to change course.

When it comes to specific program changes, employers are looking at enhancing wellbeing programs (78%) and health care benefits (37%).

Health care

Employers expect health care, sick leave, disability and group life insurance costs to rise over the next year due to COVID-19. Looking forward to their 2021 strategy, many are reviewing vendor performance and costs, while also monitoring employee utilization of benefits.

As a result of COVID-19, two fifths plan to revise their health are strategy for 2021 and roughly half will prioritize access to high-quality mental health solutions.

64%
are enhancing programs/actions around employee safety

The most important benefit priorities over the next six months:

  • Enhance programs/actions around employee safety (64%)
  • Enhance mental health services and stress/resilience management (46%)
  • Ensure business continuity of benefits programs e.g., vendor management (35%)

Wellbeing

There’s an increased focus on wellbeing, particularly to alleviate anxiety by supporting virtual interactions. Seventy two percent of employers are offering new virtual solutions that make it easy to implement to support employees work from home. Eighty eight percent are increasing access to videoconferencing to allow for virtual meetings to keep employees connected around work, while 51% are offering flexible work hours to allow employees to tend to child or elder care responsibilities.

Paid leave

Additionally, employers are supporting employees in this time through paid leave:

  • 40% have required employees to take leave, with a further 26% planning or considering
  • 33% will allow employees to carry forward unused annual leave
  • 80% cover full pay during quarantine leave

Top priority for employers’ 2021 health care strategies

As employers think about the impact of COVID-19, the following actions have been identified to have great or moderate importance to their 2021 heath care strategy:

82%
Monitor employee utilization and educate to minimize suboptimal behaviors
81%
Review vendor performance and costs
68%
Add/enhance virtual care

About the survey

The survey was conducted between June 1 and June 12, 2020. This highlights report reflects responses from 100 employers in the Philippines, representing around 300,000 employees from various industries across the country.

For more information, contacts

Susan La Chica
Head, Health & Benefits – Philippines

Demosthenes Villarin Jr.
Medical Director and Head of Business
Development, Health & Benefits – Philippines

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