Ball in Senate after House OK’s 4-day workweek

September 4, 2017 at 10:14

Ball in Senate after House OK’s 4-day workweek

August 28, 2017

The Chairman of the Senate Committee Chair on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development said on Sunday, Aug. 27, he expects his chamber to tackle soon the proposed four-day workweek, on which the House of Representatives had passed a bill over the weekend that aims to institutionalize that work schedule.

House Bill No. 6152, now approved on third and final reading, aims to set in place “a compressed workweek scheme” that effectively offsets work hours in a five-day schedule to longer hours in a shorter workweek.

To be sure, this practice has been an observed policy among a number of government agencies.

One of the authors of the House bill, Baguio City Representative Mark O. Go noted that the Department of Labor and Employment has allowed companies to go on compressed workweek schemes. He said that this new scheme will give employers and employees “flexibility in fixing hours of work compatible with business requirements and the employees’ need for a balanced work-life.”

The approved bill is “without prejudice to firms whose normal workweek is five days, or a total of 40 hours based on the normal work day of eight hours,” a statement on the approved bill said.

“House Bill 6152 aims to increase the normal work hours per day under a compressed work week scheme, amending Articles 83, 87 and 91 of Presidential Decree No, 442, as amended, otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines,” the statement said.

“Employees shall be permitted to complete their working hours on a compressed work week scheme whereby the normal workweek is reduced to less than six days but the total number of normal work hours per week shall remain at 48 hours,” the statement added.

It also noted that, “Health personnel in cities and municipalities with a population of at least one million or in hospitals and clinics with a bed capacity of at least one hundred shall hold regular office hours for eight hours a day, for five days a week, exclusive of time for meals, except where the exigencies of the service require that such personnel work for six days or 48 hours, in which case, they shall be entitled to an additional compensation of at least 30% of their regular wage for work on the sixth day.”

“Health personnel shall include resident physicians, nurses, nutritionists, dietitians, pharmacists, social workers, laboratory technicians, paramedical technicians, psychologists, midwives, attendants and all other hospital or clinic personnel,” the statement explained.

The bill mandates the Secretary of Labor and Employment to promulgate the necessary implementing rules and regulations within 90 days upon implementation.

Sought for comment, Senator Joel J. Villanueva, who heads the aforementioned committee, said this body will tackle the proposal on Sept. 13. Asked on whether the Senate will adopt the House bill or pass a counterpart measure, Mr. Villanueva said this “will depend on (what is tackled in) the hearing.”

“Yes, we will hear (this) next next week. It will create additional working arrangements for our workers and it is a welcome development. Just like telecommuting (passed in the third reading in the Senate), it will not be mandatory depending on the nature of work,” the senator said in a text message.

Proposals to adjust work conditions, including the measure cited by Mr. Villanueva, have come amid public transportation woes cited by the commuting work force.

Also sought for comment, spokesperson Alan A. Tanjusay of the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines said the labor alliance supports the House bill, “provided that there will always be a consultation and dialogue with workers before it is implemented in the workplace.” — Mario M. Banzon


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