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Why Moms Thrive at Human Nature
« on: March 17, 2018, 04:40:39 PM »
Why Moms Thrive at Human Nature

Marking National Women’s Month with more family-friendly initiatives

“Minsan, katawan mo na talaga yung bumibigay eh (sometimes, your body just gives up),” recounts Rheavie Galvero-Ablazo, an assistant store manager at Human Nature’s flagship store in Quezon City. Before joining Human Nature, she used to work 16 to 24 hour shifts at a factory manufacturing seatbelts.

After becoming pregnant with her first child, it became increasingly hard for her find employment. “How could I get a new factory job with a newborn at home? I didn’t know how we’d survive.” Ablazo’s story isn’t unique. A new study from the US-based National Bureau of Economic Research* reveals that the gender wage gap goes beyond being female -- it’s a penalty for becoming a mother.

Researchers found that the highest-paying jobs required fixed schedules and rewarded longer hours. This has made it harder for mothers, who tended to take on more childcare and household responsibilities, to earn as much as their male colleagues. Data from Denmark, a country known for one of the highest female labor participation rates in the world, was used in the study.

Creating a workplace that lets mothers thrive is part of Human Nature’s efforts to change the way business is done in the Philippines.

“Women have so much to contribute and being a mother gives them perspectives and experiences that are so valuable in creating more humane and sustainable companies,” states Human Nature Co-Founder and President Anna Meloto-Wilk.

The company takes pride in its continued pursuit of family-friendly policies.

All employees are covered by an organization-wide Sundays off policy and shorter work days. Employees enjoy to 7.5 to 7 hours and flexible hours when applicable, instead of the conventional 8 or 9 hour work days. In addition, the company’s manufacturing plant in Canlubang, Laguna is slowly eliminating the need for graveyard shifts.

Plant Manager Mildred Baril shares that all of their efforts at the company’s Carmelray campus is about becoming a benchmark in manufacturing processes and labor practices.

“We are giving former contractual, agency-hired workers hope that the manufacturing industry is not synonymous with endo and low pay. Hope that manufacturing can one day be equivalent to security of tenure, good salary and humane treatment for all employees.”

Closing the gender gap also means enabling men to share the load.

While there is a government-mandated paternal leave of 7 days, the company provides 14 days of paternal leave for fathers up to one month after the birth. Last year, the company rolled out additional compensation for every child born. Creating more child-friendly spaces at its offices is also in the works.

Ablazo, an assistant store manager, shares that shortened work days means stronger relationships and opportunities for self-care. She adds that being less stressed when she brings her children to school has had a positive impact on family dynamics.

Women at the helm

The 2016 Human Capital Outlook for the ASEAN briefing given by the World Economic Forum cited that the labor force participation gender gap in the Philippines is at 35 percent. In contrast, Human Nature’s equal opportunity practices have led to more women to join its ranks. Almost half of its manufacturing plant labor force are women and a majority of its departments are led by women.

Social enterprise brands led by women and employing women have also found a home in Human Nature’s 34 branches across the Philippines. The handmade purses from Mori Notes, for example, are made by mother crafters in Quezon City who work from their homes. Mori Notes enables them to earn dignified wages while they watch over their children.

Mitzi Uy-Chan, founder of Mori Notes, relates how Human Nature’s freely shared expertise has helped her social enterprise multiply the income of its workers.

“Initially, some mothers were just doing rags at home earning 100 pesos a day. Others didn’t have work because they had to tend to their children at home. Through Mori Notes they are able to earn at least 450 pesos a day,” she shares. Mori Notes makes journals, wallets, and other crafts in partnership with women in a poor barangays in Apolonio Samson, Quezon City and in Bulacan. “Their help provide continuous work for the mothers especially during the company’s first couple of years, when it had very few clients.”

Beverage brand Bayani Brew and food brands First Harvest, Uncle Frank’s and Tintan’s Pastries also have a predominantly female workforce. Each adheres to Human Nature’s dignified wage policies also have homegrown enrichment programs for employees.

Dignified work for all

By intentionally hiring people from marginalized sectors, Gandang Kalikasan is able to provide dignified work, fair living wages, and opportunities to those who need it most.

Currently, 58 percent of employees come from the low-skilled working poor from communities in surrounding areas in Quezon City and Laguna where its main operations are based. GKI’s minimum living wage for its rank and file workers ranges from over 60 percent to as high as twice the minimum legal wage.

The 490-strong company continues to enforce a strict no firing policy for all regular employees, maintains a firm anti-endo stance, and gives all regularized employees full benefits.  A variety of interventions are put in place for the bottom-of-the-pyramid (BoP) employees’ holistic well-being covering transformation (both tangible and non-tangible) in terms of their family life, work life and community life with the end goal of getting them and their families rise out of poverty.

Through a combination of different policies and programs never before invested in workers, Gandang Kalikasan envisions itself to be the most caring employer in the Philippines.

Enjoying full tenure, benefits, and shorter hours has been life changing for Human Resources Officer Michelle Lucido. She recounted that the long hours at her previous job affected her relationship with her child. “She didn’t want to spend time with me because I was always busy,” she shares. “Plus, my then contractual status crushed any dreams my family had of owning a home. This is the first time I experienced being a regular employee and now, I get to spend more time with my daughter!”

About Human Nature

Human Nature is the Philippines’ largest brand of genuinely natural, affordable personal care, cosmetics and home care products. Founded in 2008 by Dylan Wilk, Anna Meloto-Wilk, and Camille Meloto, Human Nature’s products are 100% made in the Philippines and 100% free from harmful chemicals. Operated by social enterprise Gandang Kalikasan Inc. (GKI), Human Nature is driven by the core philosophies of being PRO-PHILIPPINES, PRO-POOR and PRO-ENVIRONMENT. In 2012, Human Nature was recognized by the World Economic Forum’s Schwab Foundation as a Champion for Social Entrepreneurship.  To learn more about Human Nature and its advocacies, log on to www.humanheartnature.com.

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