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Compressed work week approved

The House of Representatives has approved on third and final reading this week a bill seeking to institutionalize the compressed work week scheme to promote business competitiveness, work efficiency and labor productivity.

House Bill 6152 aims to increase the normal work hours per day under a compressed work week scheme, amending Articles 83, 87 and 91 of Presidential Decree No, 442, as amended, otherwise known as the Labor Code of the Philippines.

Under the bill, the amendment to Article 83 of the Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended shall read as follows: Art. 83. Normal hours of work. � The normal hours of work of any employee shall not exceed eight hours a day except in cases where the enterprise adopts a compressed work week scheme, but shall not exceed 48 hours a week. This is without prejudice to firms whose normal work week is five days, or a total of 40 hours based on the normal work day of eight hours.

Employees shall be permitted to complete their working hours on a compressed work week scheme whereby the normal work week 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 cities and municipalities with a population of at least one million or in hospitals and clinics with a bed capacity of at least one hundred shall hold regular office hours for eight hours a day, for five days a week, exclusive of time for meals, except where the exigencies of the service require that such personnel work for six days or 48 hours, in which case, they shall be entitled to an additional compensation of at least 30 percent of their regular wage for work on the sixth day.

Health personnel shall include resident physicians, nurses, nutritionists, dietitians, pharmacists, social workers, laboratory technicians, paramedical technicians, psychologists, midwives, attendants and all other hospital or clinic personnel.

Article 87 of the same law is likewise amended to read as follows: Art. 87. Overtime work. � Work may be performed beyond eight hours a day or 48 hours a week provided that the employee is paid for the overtime work, an additional compensation equivalent to the regular wage plus at least 25 percent thereof. Work performed beyond eight hours or number of hours under a compressed work week scheme on a holiday or rest day shall be paid an additional compensation equivalent to the rate of the first eight hours or a number of hours under a compressed work seek scheme on a holiday or rest day plus 30 percent thereof.

Article 91 of the Labor Code is also amended to read as follows: Art. 91. Right to weekly rest day. � (a) It shall be the duty of every employer, whether operating for profit or not, to provide each of the employees a rest period of not less than 24 consecutive hours after every six consecutive normal work days. In the case of a compressed work week 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.

(b) The employer shall determine and schedule the weekly rest day of the employees subject to collective bargaining agreement and to such rules and regulation as the Secretary of Labor may provide. However, the employer shall respect the preference of employees as to their weekly rest day when such preference is based on religious grounds.

The bill mandates the Secretary of Labor and Employment to promulgate the necessary implementing rules and regulations (IRRs) within 90 days for its implementation.

Rep. Mark Go (Lone District, Baguio City), one of the authors of the bill, said at present, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has allowed companies to go on a compressed work week schemes.

These arrangements give employers and employees flexibility in fixing hours of work compatible with business requirements and the employees' need for a balanced work-life, Go said.

Other authors of the bill are: Reps. Diogracias Victor Savellano (1st District, Ilocos Sur), Eleanor Bulut-Begtang (lone District, Apayao), Ma. Lourdes Aggabao (4th District, Isabela), Jesus Celeste (1st District, Pangasinan), Christopher De Venecia (4th District, Pangasinan), Rodolfo FariAas, (1st District, Ilocos Norte), Ronald Cosalan (Lone District, Benguet), Napoleon Dy (3rd District, Isabela), Leopoldo Bataoil (2nd District, Pangasinan), Strike Revilla (2nd District, Cavite), MarlynPrimicias-Agabas (6th District, Pangasinan), Luisa LlorenCuaresma (Lone District, Nueva Vizcaya), Micaela Violago (2nd District, Nueva Ecija), Randolph Ting (3rd District, Cagayan), Ariel Casilao (Party-list, ANAKPAWIS), Teodoro Montoro (Party-list, AASENSO), Leo Rafael Cueva (2nd District, Negros Occidental), Edwin Ong (2nd District, Northern Samar), Vicente Veloso (3rd District, Leyte), EdcelLagman (1st District, Albay), Peter Unabia (1st District, Misamis Oriental), Yedda Marie Romualdez (1st District, Leyte), Vilma Santos-Recto (6th District, Batangas) and Julieta Cortuna (Party-list, A TEACHER).

Source: House of Representatives

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