Philippine’s congress considers four-day workweek

  • Baguio City Rep. Mark Go has filed a House bill pushing for a compressed work week scheme.
  • The bill seeks to reduce work days to less than six, allowing employees to work for 12 hours a day and enjoy three rest days in a week.
  • While the government is still solving Manila’s traffic woes, the measure may help alleviate the situation by allowing employees to reduce the probability of plying EDSA on their way to offices.

Employees who have long been rallying for shorter days of work  to make personal time for themselves and their loved ones may soon benefit from a measure pushing for a compressed work week scheme in the 18th Congress.

Baguio City Rep. Mark Go has filed House Bill 1904, “an Act increasing the normal work hours per day under a compressed work week scheme, amending Articles 83, 87 and 91 of Presidential Decree No. 442, otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended.”

Photo from Reuters (Erik de Castro)

In his explanatory note, Go said that the concept of compressed work arrangement refers to an alternative schedule wherein the work week will be reduced to less than six days but the total number of normal work hours per week will remain at 48 hours.

This means that an employee now has an option to work for four or five days a week, instead of the current maximum of six days as required by the Labor Code, but he shall work for around 12 hours a day.

The lawmaker cited department orders from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) which had already allowed some firms to follow the compressed work week scheme in the country.

“These arrangements give employers and employees flexibility in fixing hours of work compatible with business requirements and the employees’ need for a balanced work-life,” Go said.

He added that the measure also seeks to promote “competitiveness, efficiency, and productivity” in the labor industry.

Photo from BusinessWorld

HB 1904 also proposes that while work may be performed beyond eight hours a day or 48 hours a week, the employee must be paid for overtime work, an additional compensation equivalent to the regular wage with an additional 25 percent thereof.

Work on a holiday or rest day should also be paid with at least thirty percent of additional campaign.

In a radio interview over the weekend, Go claimed that the measure may also help in addressing traffic woes on EDSA, more so with about 5,000 to 6,000 vehicles passing through the main highway daily.

Photo from INQUIRER.NET (Lyn Rillon)

“The ban on provincial buses has just a little effect in terms of traffic,” said Go.

Celine Pialago, spokesperson of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) admitted on Wednesday that the first day of the voluntary test run EDSA bus ban was “not successful” and the agency needs more time to prove the efficiency of the policy.

While Go’s measure does not directly address whether a compressed work week could help alleviate the worsening vehicle congestion in the country, it can be assured that workers have an option to enjoy up to three rest days for themselves and get away from Manila’s traffic woes for the mean time.



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