As Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) operator, Alorica, shuts its second facility in Kingston after two employees tested positive for COVID-19, State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Alando Terrelonge, is calling for all BPO offices across the island to immediately review and update their current COVID-19 related health and safety measures – or to develop and implement policies where none exist.
Minister Terrelonge notes that “while we understand the economic importance of the BPO sector and the jobs created for over 40,000 Jamaicans, this must not supersede the importance of the health of our society, and in this case, the health of our youth population.”
The risk of community spread in densely populated areas like Portmore, where many of these employees reside, is of great concern to the minister.
“The health and safety of all employees is paramount. This is a time for all employers in the BPO sector to enact proper policies and follow the sanitation guidelines set out by the Government and Ministry of Health and Wellness, to keep our young people safe,” indicates Terrelonge.
The minister supports and agrees with Alorica’s announced [temporary] closure, adding that “It might be useful for other BPO entities to follow suit. It is better to close for 2 to 3 weeks and review policies, implement necessary safety guidelines to maintain adequate social distancing, install hand sanitizer stations throughout the workplace, on buses that transport workers and install thermometers for mandatory daily temperature checks for staff, upon entering and leaving the work space – if this is not already being done.”
The minister wishes a full and speedy recovery to all workers who are infected and would also like to remind young people across Jamaica to take COVID-19 seriously and not take their own safety for granted; youthfulness is no vaccine against the virus.