Press Release
January 27, 2019

Villanueva pushes for alternative working arrangement

The Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources is pushing for the passage of a measure that gives employees and employers an option to adopt flexible working arrangements.

Committee chair Senator Joel Villanueva submitted to the floor on January 22, Tuesday, Committee Report No. 554, which contains Senate Bill No. 1571 seeking to amend Article 83 of the Labor Code of the Philippines that mandates 8 hours a day work of any employee for five days.

"This is a relatively simple and straightforward bill that seeks to amend Article 83 of the Labor Code by making an exception to the normal eight (8) hours of work a day when the exigency of business operations or national emergency requires the adoption of a mutually agreed voluntary work arrangement between the employer and the employee," Villanueva said in his sponsorship speech.

The bill proposes a mutually agreed voluntary work arrangements between the employer and the employee, "provided that, hours of work shall not exceed 48 hours a week and there is no diminution of existing benefits."

Howwever, health personnel in cities and municipalities with a population of at least 1 million, or in hospitals and clinics with a bed capacity of at least 100 should hold regular office hours for 8 hours a day, for five days a week, the measure stated.

In case the employee is required to work for six days or 48 hours, the personnel is entitled to an additional compensation of at least 30 percent of his regular wage for work on the sixth day.

"We believe that alternative working arrangement or flexible working is not just a fad but a necessity. We strongly believe that every Filipino worker deserves that we recognize it under our laws," Villanueva said.

"Now more than ever, companies allow non-traditional working arrangements like flexitime, four day workweek, compressed workweek, working from home, shift flexibility, among others, to give their workers more independence and control over their work," he added.

The senator noted that workers who have more independence and control over their work are more productive and they deliver better results.

He cited a research project funded by the Economic Social Research Council based at the University of Kent in England, entitled "Work Autonomy, Work Flexibility and Work Life Balance", which shows that when managers allow workers more discretion or more control over their work, they deliver better performance outcomes or better productivity.

The research project also shows that at least 15 percent of workers in the 28 member states of the European Union have the freedom to change the beginning and ending times of their work and approximately 5 percent of all workers across Europe have complete independence over their work.

"Mr. President, time indeed has come for flexible working schedule as a business strategy. It's an answer to the changes in the labor market and in the nature of employment," Villanueva said.

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