House OKs 35-hour work week bill on 2nd reading

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 19) – The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill that will cut the weekly work schedule by five hours as an alternative work arrangement for private sector employees.

House Bill No. 309 seeks to establish a voluntary flexible work week scheme of 35 hours to boost the productivity and welfare of employees.

It would amend the Labor Code, which provides that employees must not exceed the eight working hours daily or 40 hours a week.

“With this bill, this representation envisions a more robust economy and happier workers in healthier workplaces,” read the bill’s explanatory note. It was authored by House Committee on Ways and Means chair Joey Salceda.

Under the proposed measure, employees under the 35-hour weekly schedule should be entitled to rest days, overtime pay, night shift differential, and other monetary benefits, not lower than those provided by the law.

Employees must also be allowed to enter in a collective bargaining agreement.

The measure also states that employees in such a work scheme should have an equivalent workload and performance standard just like other employees in the company.

Under the bill, a private sector employer is authorized to implement a 35-hour working week arrangement upon the request of employees or on a voluntary basis, under terms and conditions that they may mutually agree upon.