House okays 4-day workweek scheme

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The House of Representatives has approved on final reading a proposal to increase daily work hours under a compressed workweek scheme.

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If passed into law, the measure would amend Articles 83, 87 and 91 of the country’s Labor Code.

The bill amends Article 83 to state that workers’ normal work hours “shall not exceed eight hours a day except in cases where the enterprise adopts a compressed workweek scheme, but shall not exceed 48 hours a week. This 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.”

It would also allow workers “to complete their working hours on a compressed workweek 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.”

Health personnel in towns and cities with populations of at least a million, or in hospitals and clinics which have a bed capacity of at least a hundred, shall hold eight-hour regular office hours daily for five days a week, exclusive of meal time, under the bill.

Where their work requires six days or 48 hours, they shall be entitled to additional compensation (30 percent of regular wage on the sixth day).

The bill also amends Article 87 to state that overtime work may be done provided that the worker is paid an additional compensation for it equivalent to regular wage plus 25 percent of the wage.

If the worker does overtime work on a holiday or rest day under a compressed workweek scheme on a holiday or rest day, he shall be paid additional compensation “equivalent to the rate of the first eight hours or a number of hours under a compressed workweek scheme on a holiday or rest day plus 30 percent thereof.”

The bill further amends Article 91 to state that it shall be the employers’ duty to provide workers rest periods of not less than 24 hours after six work days, and that “[i]n the case of a compressed work eek scheme, a rest period of not less than 48 hours but not more than 72 hours, as the case may be, shall be provided to the employees.”

Under the bill, employers shall determine and set the workers’ weekly rest day subject to collective bargaining agreement and rules that may be provided by the Labor secretary but employers shall respect the workers’ preference regarding the weekly rest day when it is based on religious grounds.

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