Philippines: Exporters nix shorter work week

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. (Philexport) is opposing the need for a law implementing a compressed work week as it appeals for a status quo, wherein employers are allowed to decide the suitable work hours for their employees considering the ecosystem within which they operate.

“We suggest that the status quo be maintained by leaving it to employers to determine the best working hours for their respective companies, subject to their particular needs, location and employee situations,” Philexport said in a position paper.

Philexport said studies have been made indicating that longer working hours have significant impact on productivity and firm performance.

The group further emphasized that there is an existing framework through Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Advisory 22, which provides comprehensive guidelines on the implementation of such schemes.

Philexport said the DOLE advisory provides that the compressed work week scheme is undertaken as a result of an express and voluntary agreement of majority of the covered employees or their duly authorized representatives.

“It also stipulated that any work performed beyond 48 hours a week (40 hours a week for some) shall be subject to overtime premium,” the group said.

The House Committee on Labor and Employment has approved House Bill 6152 or “An Act Increasing the Normal Work Hours Per Day Under a Compressed Work Week Scheme.”

Last week, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) also came out with a position paper opposing Senate Bill 1571 filed by Sen. Joel Villanueva which promotes a four-day work week scheme.

“With due respect, we beg to differ with the rationale that compressed work week arrangement will not only reduce cost of work, but also enable employees to allocate more time for other personal and social obligations, thus further promoting work life balance,” ECOP said.

“Thus, we submit that the compressed workweek would not only increase the costs of production bu would also have a negative effect on work productivity and efficiency as well as increase the risks of accidents due to the fatigue factor,” it added.

Source: http://www.philstar.com/business/2017/09/25/1742234/exporters-nix-shorter-work-week