House panel approves compressed workweek bill

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(CNN Philippines, May 17) — The House Committee on Labor and Employment approved a bill allowing a four-day workweek by increasing the number of normal work hours per day.

Under House Bill 5068 authored by Baguio Representative Mark Go, companies may increase the normal eight-hour workday to a 10 or 12-hour workday to lessen the number of days at work.

Employees are required to work for 40 to 48 hours a week according to the Labor Code.

Go said that shortening the workweek will allow flexibility and productivity for the company as well as provide work-life balance for the employees.

"If you are working ngayon, for example, you are from Caloocan and you work in Cavite, kung six days ka, 'yung travel time napakatagal," Go said. "Makaka-save ang employees even ang employers."

But the bill also adjusted conditions for overtime work, defining it as work beyond eight hours on a normal schedule or 12 hours on a compressed work schedule.

"If they decide to go on a four-day workweek, they have to work 12 hours a day. They will only be paid overtime pag mag-exceed ang 48 hours a week," Go said.

Go added that the four-day workweek is not mandatory, as companies may still decide on the work schedules compatible with their business requirements.

A 2014 resolution from the Civil Service Commission allows government agencies in Metro Manila to implement the four-day workweek if they meet accessibility requirements such as an online service, a one-stop shop, and a functional call center.

The bill, Go said, institutionalizes this practice.