UNFPA Urges Employers to Ensure Family Planning Services Are Made Available to Employees

Manila Bulletin, June 20, 2018 | Go to article overview

UNFPA Urges Employers to Ensure Family Planning Services Are Made Available to Employees


By Leslie Ann Aquino

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Wednesday urged employers to ensure that all family planning services are made available to their employees.

"Let me urge the private sector companies gathered here, and those reached through our media networks, to join us in this very timely and meaningful initiative of giving women and girls, as well as men and boys, the opportunity to make their lives better through family planning and reproductive health," UNFPA Country Representative Klaus Beck said in his speech during the National Conference on Productivity and Family Planning held in Makati.

He cited a number of companies, such as Hamlin Industrial Corporation, that have made sound decisions to expand access to quality family planning information and services to their workers following the principles of informed choice and voluntarism, realizing that such programs are not only good for the employees, but are also beneficial to the companies and the nation as well.

"Studies have shown the economic benefits that family planning gives to the companies, but more important is the impact that this program brings to employees by way of better health, better quality family life, and improved productivity," said Beck.

He said a good quality family planning program enables employees to improve the quality of their lives by being able to plan their families and their future, while also giving the companies economic and business incentives.

Beck added that investing in family planning is investing in the workers, in the company and in the country's economy as a whole.

"Investing in family planning, therefore, is not only common sense but makes good business sense," he said.

But designing a workplace family planning program, Beck said is not a straightforward task as each workplace environment is unique and requires tailor-made strategies for information and service delivery.

"Our experience shows that even between companies in the same sector, there are differences so programs have to be customized to align with the business set-up. It is important, therefore, that company management is directly in control of the planning process from the very start of the engagement. After all, these programs are their programs and they have to implement them in a way that they do not disrupt production," he said.

Since working couples are faced with the challenge of a lack of time to access quality family planning and reproductive health services, especially in the public health centers that provides these services only during working hours, Beck said a workplace program ensures that these services are available where the employees are, and that they are closely supported by their co-employees on a regular basis.

He cited the case of Mae, a garments factory worker of Hamlin in Laguna, who after giving birth decided to start using contraceptive pills, which she received for free - from her workplace, so as to plan the timing and size of her family. …

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