Outsourcing is not for the faint of heart.
The hiring process alone is rigorous — it’s not a walk in the park if you’re sifting through a hundred applicants per day. What’s more, it couldn’t be helped that you might be going through a number of VAs first before you finally find the perfect one.
That one VA who gets you. Someone who understands what you and your business need and would work odd hours just to get things done. That one (or more) VA who does all the right calls and initiates all the right moves. The one VA whom you can’t live without.
When you find that rockstar VA — that VA who can take over your business if the need arises — you’d want to keep that VA for as long as your business allows.
Luckily, keeping Filipino workers happy and productive doesn’t take much. The simplest would be giving them a raise or a monthly bonus for a job well done.
If you’re not one to give out cash bonuses, there’s another way that would not only tell them that you value their presence in your life and your business, it also screams job security and stability — benefits.
Benefits equal security. In fact, a lot of Filipinos would willingly forgo large salaries or multiple clients for jobs that offer benefits.
And contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t cost much to provide your Filipino VAs with employee benefits. Offering to pay for your VA’s benefits is one way of earning their trust and keeping them happy. It also lends your business with an air of stability and respectability, characteristics that experienced Filipino workers look for in employers.
What Benefits Should I Pay For?
A typical office employee has four main benefits:
- Social Security System
- Philhealth (or socialized medical insurance)
- Pag-IBIG Fund (socialized housing loan)
- The 13th-month
Businesses registered in the Philippines are legally obligated to provide these benefits.
We’ve already discussed the 13th month in great detail so we’ll focus on the top 3.
The Social Security System, Philhealth and Pag-IBIG Fund are government regulated systems. To make it easier for every Filipino to get them, the required contributions are often really low. This is why providing these benefits don’t actually cost that much.
In addition, you don’t even have to pay for it completely. The employer and worker split the cost 50/50, reducing the burden on businesses.
How Can I Pay?
The amount that a person has to pay for benefits in the Philippines is different from an employed worker and a self-employed person. This could be due to tax, but also because employers automatically pay their half to the concerned offices.
Since you and your VA don’t really have a typical employee-employer relationship, your VAs would have to declare themselves as voluntary or self-employed members.
This means they would have to make the payments themselves directly to the agencies themselves.
To provide this benefit, you can either:
- have your VAs prepare a picture or a screenshot of their proof of payments and reimburse their payments, or
- provide the equivalent amount on top of your VAs’ salary.
How Much Is It?
The Social Security System is like an insurance program mandated by the government for all workers in the Philippines. All members are required to contribute monthly to fund, depending on their salary bracket. In exchange for the contributions, members will enjoy benefits such as sickness, maternity, disability, retirement, death and funeral, and salary loan.
The contribution depends on their salary, so here’s the payment schedule for your reference:
EE – employee’s share
ER – employer’s share
Philhealth’s members have access to a comprehensive package of services, including inpatient care, catastrophic coverage, ambulatory surgeries, deliveries, and outpatient treatment for malaria and tuberculosis.
Self-employed members earning a monthly income of P25,000 and below need to pay the contribution of P200 per month or P2,400 per year. On the other hand, members having a monthly income above P25,000 need to pay P300 monthly contribution or P3,600 yearly.
The Pag-IBIG Fund is a convenient savings system for Filipino workers. Monthly contributions to the Fund earn annual dividends that are credited to the member’s account. These savings are tax-free and government-guaranteed and shall remain in the member’s name even if the member transfers employment or get unemployed.
Self-earning or self-employed members shoulder their full monthly Pag-IBIG contribution. For Pag-IBIG Fund, P5,000 is considered the maximum income for a self-employed member’s contribution. This means regardless of how much your VAs earn — as long as it’s equal to or higher than P5,000 — they should pay only at least P100 monthly. They may, however, choose to pay a higher amount for greater savings.
For example’s sake, let’s say you’re giving your VA $400 as monthly salary, that’s more or less P20,200.
If you put in a contribution for all 3, here’s how much it will cost you per month:
If you’re feeling extra generous, you can also offer to pay half of your VAs’ internet and HMO expenses. But again, these are optional. However, these perks are becoming a practice for BPOs in the Philippines for the following reasons:
Subsidizing internet for employees to work from home is cheaper than renting a bigger office space and getting more equipment.
Philhealth is useful mainly for hospitalizations. For outpatient procedures and regular check-ups, HMOs really help cut the costs
For the internet, there are four big players in the Philippines’ ISP scene:
PLDT — one of the oldest companies in the Philippines, and undeniable the most accessible ISP. If you ask your VAs, there’s a 95% chance they’re using this ISP.
Here are their internet packages:
Globe — provides one of the most competitive prices for the faster speeds and they are available nationwide.
Converge ICT — this is the newest player in town. It’s very affordable and there’s no data cap. But the caveat — it’s only available in major cities for now.
SkyCable — when they initially offered internet service, they were heralded as one of the fastest ISPs on the internet. Being primarily a Cable TV company, TV services are usually bundled up with their broadband internet services. But aside from availability, Sky Cable also does not really bedazzle with the internet speeds.
As you can see, P1,500 – P2,000 per month provides a decent internet connection already.
As for HMOs, there’s a lot to choose from. There are even prepaid options available. For starters, Maxicare, MediCard, and Intellicare (the biggest private medical insurers in the Philippines) offer prepaid health cards as well as annual health plans. They cater their plans depending on the number of employees. If you have a lot of team Filipino employees, you’d get more value.
Filipinos are fiercely loyal and hardworking. Treat them well and they’ll help you do whatever they can to help make your business grow and prosper.
Now that you’ve found the one. Now that your business is growing and you’re making good money, isn’t it time to return the favor? Doesn’t take much to give your VA that small blanket of security to reassure them that working for you is totally worth it.
A writer and an all-around VA. She has now found her home at OnlineJobs.ph.