Corporate Social Responsibility

Outsource Data Entry : Fair Labor Policy

Rashmi has been working in a content BPO as a data entry operator for the past 5 years. She is married and has two school going children. Her husband Amit works as an office assistant in a large company, drawing a monthly gross of $200. This is not enough to take care of their expenses, so Rashmi's $150/month is very important for the family.

Majority of the people working as operators in content BPOs have similar stories like Rashmi. Their working in such place in essential for them. For the content BPOs to run a sustained operation it is imperative to get a regular flow of work from companies and organizations around the globe. The question which should matter to the organizations who provide the work to these content BPOs is whether they follow fair labor practices.

The center which Rashmi works in is located in a small suburban town 20 miles from the Indian capital city of New Delhi. The office premises is a 20x20 room with no airconditioning and little ventilation. During the summer months when temperatures soar to 45 deg C, Rashmi and her collegues have to work the 8 hours shift, with sweat poaring down their bodies. The room temperature rises close to 50 deg. C, helped by the heat generated from the computers.

When Rashmi's kids fall sick she has to pay for their treatment from her meagre income. This is a drain on her finances but she has no other option. The center has not covered her or her collegues through the employees state insurance, which would provide her family free medical assistance. The center does not subscribe to employees state insurance or provident fund since these would increase their costs by about 10%.

This is a story which repeats across many of the content BPOs in developing countries. It is for the outsourcing companies to insist on fair labor practices before they agree to outsource. Though costs may be a little higher for them but it does make life easier for a lot many poor people.