Palace thumbs down proposed four-day workweek-A A +A
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
A PROPOSAL to cut the workweek into four days was rejected by Malacañang, saying that while it has some benefits, it may also disrupt services.
“We’re not seriously considering a four-day work week,” Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Secretary Ramon Carandang said on Tuesday, a day after Quezon City Representative Winston Castelo proposed the "Four-Day Work Week Act of 2011."
The bill seeks to extend working hours from eight to 10 but only from Monday to Thursday.
Workers are currently required to work for eight hours a day in five days.
Castelo noted that the proposal would cut expenditures for both workers and employers as it is perceived to reduce transport and food costs.
He added that the proposal "seeks to address the economic difficulties caused by higher consumer prices and stagnant wages."
Carandang said the four-day work week has been proposed several times in Congress but has been rejected by the past administrations.
Unless there is new argument to be presented by the lawmakers, the government will remain hesitant about supporting it.
“If there’s something, some new compelling argument for it, then we would certainly look into it. Pero sa ngayon, we’re not really looking into it,” he said.
The Employers’ Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) earlier expressed opposition on Castelo’s proposal saying that it will “hurt productivity in the country” since the Philippines is considered as one of the countries with most non-working holidays in the world.
Ecop president Ed Lacson said in a television interview that the "proposal's objective to achieve a work-life balance for workers is ‘very noble’ but it will not help the country's overall competitiveness".
Asked if Malacañang shares the view that the proposal is not going to be productive, Carandang said “we have no definite opinion on it. We have not studied the proposal in detail.”
Private, public workers also thumb down proposal
In a separate report, private and public sector workers also rejected Castelo's proposed four-day work week.
Workers will have more to lose under the arrangement, the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage) and the Alliance for Progressive Labor (APL) said in separate interviews.
"Though workers can save on transport costs, they might end up paying more for medical expenses for working more than eight hours every day," said APL secretary general Josua Mata.
"It is not practical and has no substantial impact on the workers except for the savings of transport cost of one day per week," said Courage president Ferdinand Gaite.
Courage also said it would just be best for lawmakers to just push for the legislated wage hike.
"They should just prioritize the House Bill 375, which is for the P125 across-the-board legislated wage hike for private workers, and the House Bill 3746, which is for the P6,000 increase for the minimum pay for government workers,” said Gaite. (Jill Beltran/AMN/Sunnex)