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Businesses are Ready to Operate, says Business Council Executive Director

In a market survey participated by business leaders, more than 60 per cent have shown that they are not going to lay off employees during this time, according to the PNG Business Council. Executive Director Douveri Henao said that this is a good sign and that companies are now employing measures such as using a skeletal workforce and reduction of work hours to stay afloat.

In a statement, he said, “It’s an increase from 12 per cent from our Q1, 2020 (first quarter) numbers where this confidence in the market on staff reduction would not occur in the next six months.”

Henao added that among the strategies that companies use include employee headcount or redundancy in which 19 per cent was already applied, an increase of 12 per cent since the first quarter; and the skeletal workforce which has 18 per cent, reducing work hours was at 17 per cent.

“During this period, we saw an increase in redundancy programmes but this increase has actually plateaued,” he said in a statement. “There was anxiety in the market that there will be mass redundancy programmes and they will be queued up in as fund and elsewhere to collect their entitlements after the mandatory three month grace periods are over.

He added, “We haven’t seen that come out into the market place largely because there is confidence in the market to retain jobs. So those that have been laid off were not to the extent where there has been a complete increase or a sharp rise in redundancy. And that’s also reflected in our conversations with the superfunds as well. They haven’t seen the large numbers prevailing throughout the year. There’s been a period in Q1 and the beginning of Q2 but that levelled off because most of these MDs (managing directors) and CEOs (chief executive officers) are quite confident that they could retain their staff. Although people have been laid off, there has not been large redundancy across the market.”

Aside from the tourism industry, Henao said that the other sectors that had employed this kind of programme included the real estate and property, manufacturing and professional services, and retail and consumer. He added that businesses have already employed such measures and are ready to continue their operations.

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