Sunday, June 29, 2014

No Rice Policy

I had to run tax errands this week. The end of June is the deadline set by the Bureau of Internal Revenue to declare the year's gross income so that only 10-15% will be deducted as withholding tax. 

This meant I had to get the "Year to Date" statement issued by payroll to determine how much I actually earned. Which was almost nil, by the way, since I discovered during the first quarter that I wasn't even receiving anything anymore from the station. So since January 2014, I have received only two paychecks: one for the project that I had been working on and been a part of for nearly 18 months and the project I have been transferred to since summer. 

In total, I received less than Php30,000 for the first half of the year. This puts me well within the tax bracket as I have earned more or less Php70k this year. 

That really sucks. 

What sucked even more was when I asked for this quarter's rice subsidy allowance. But the HR person said that I was not qualified since "IPC's only get the rice subsidy after receiving 4 subsequent paychecks." 

I told her I was actually IJM, but the paper she's holding says that I'm now apparently IPC. I never really grasped the concept or differences between being IJM  and this is the first time I've heard of IPC. I checked the web, and came up with this: 

"IJM Workers" are part of the Internal Job Market, a pool of talents or a workers' database for the company. These are your "camera men, lights men, audio men editor, vtr man from Technical Operations Department and writers, production assistants, associate producers from Production department." A further clarification: "IJM workers use their skills on machines, while the IPCs are supposed to be 'talents' per project or paid for their 'artistic output.'"

 But IJM or IPC, [management says] there's no employee - employer relationship between the workers of IJM work pool and the network because they were merely talents, meaning, they were hired based on their talent and not as regular employees." 

What is only clear to me is this: IJM or IPC, it only means no work, no pay. If there's no output, you're not getting paid. It doesn't matter if you're working all the time and get stressed while working on a "pre-game project. You do not get paid for meetings, or time spent doing research, etc. You don't get "billable hours," only projects aired or delivered. 

It's not the only company that does this. Every one of the big three outfits have more or less the same policy. Only a negligible number of people qualify as employees. There are some who hold a multi-year contract that give not salaries but "retainers fees." There are no "regulars," there are only "talents."  There are no office hours, but there are also no holidays or days off. You are always on call. There are no benefits--not even an assurance of rice to feed you and your family while your project is still lounging in development hell.

The logical step would be to quit and find a better paying job with security and benefits. And yet so many remain. Think of that every time you complain about how there's "nothing good on TV anyway."