THE Civil Service Commission (CSC) has approved a four-day work week for government offices in the National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila, a move which caught even Malacañang flat-footed.
In news briefing on Friday, Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda confirmed that the CSC has issued a memorandum on the matter but clarified it was not sanctioned by Malacañang.
“I just spoke to the human resource [people]of the Office of the President. They just received this particular memo the other day from the CSC field director. It is now submitted to one of the deputy executive secretaries for study right now,” Lacierda said.
He added that they are yet to discuss how to go about the CSC directive but that the President’s office will certainly call for a meeting over the memorandum because President Benigno Aquino 3rd is fond of even working “overtime.”
“There are requirements in order for one to use the four-day work week. So, that has not been discussed yet, and most likely [there will be discussions on it],” Lacierda told reporters.
When asked if the Palace was consulted prior to the issuance of the CSC memorandum, he replied: “No, but the Civil Service Commission is an independent constitutional commission.”
“They have their own mandate and so, they provided us guidelines for us to look into,” Lacierda said.
He added that the four-day work week “will be a factor” in setting future activities of the President.
“Being the Office of the President, where there are a number of meetings that the President on a daily basis engages in, that will be part of the factor . . . There are requirements such as [for one]frontline services can be accessed by the public online, if the agency has a one-stop shop,’ Lacierda explained.
The memorandum’s effectivity, however, remains vague because agencies would still have to “apply” for the program with the CSC.
“This is to inform you that the commission issued Memorandum Circular No. 22 Series of 2014 dated September 12, 2014. Furthermore, CSC Resolution No. 1401286 promulgated on September 8 and the guidelines on the matter will also [be]issued,” Lacierda quoted the CSC memorandum as saying.
“So, it only mentioned the promulgation date, effectivity,” he noted.
To begin assessing the impact of the CSC memorandum on the Office of the President, Lacierda said the office’s human resource department has submitted the memorandum to a deputy executive secretary.
“All of us here in the compound are under the Office of the President and the President has many engagements and a four-day work week in terms of engagement looks [inapplicable]to the President’s engagements that sometimes run for the entire week without rest,” he further explained.
“Those things will be taken into consideration along with the requirements as provided here in the Civil Service Commission memorandum circular. So, I can’t say other than the fact that it will be studied by the Office of the ES [Executive Secretary] first before we make any decision on the matter,” Lacierda said.
He disclosed that upon receiving a copy of the memorandum, he immediately spoke to Department of Budget and Management officials who said they were assessing the program.
Lacierda also noted that the DBM has offices outside Metro Manila and their functions may be affected if the DBM central office would apply for the shortened work week.