The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) on Tuesday pushed for the inclusion in House Bill 5067 of a mandatory ten-day service incentive leaves for the employees of small enterprises.

In a position paper submitted to the House Committee on Labor and Employee, ECOP stated that the grant of paid leaves is an exercise of management prerogative but the state, in the exercise of police power, may mandate such grant based on specific contingencies.

HB 5067 proposes to increase the service incentive leave of employees to ten days from the current five days.

The position paper noted that the number of working days for workers in the private sector has already been reduced by the Holiday Rationalization Act, which provides for the observance of a total of 15 regular holidays and special days in the country.

ECOP expressed concern that any further reduction in the number of working days, particularly through additional paid leaves, impacts not only on productivity but also on the cost of doing business, and eventually affects the viability of micro and small enterprises which constitute 89 percent and 9.22 percent of enterprises in the formal sector.

Paid leaves for wage and salary workers range from 19 leaves for male employees and up to 160 leaves for female employees. In addition, employers pay their workers for 15 regular and special holidays.

However, the group supports the amendment of the Labor Code pushed by HB 5068, which aims to increase the normal work hours a day under the compressed work week scheme.

Under the compressed work week scheme, the normal work week is reduced to less than six days but the total number of normal work hours per week shall remain 48 hours.

“ECOP has no objection to the proposed amendments,” the group said.