By Samuel Medenilla
The Tripartite Industrial Peace Council of the Philippines (TIPC) expressed its opposition on the passage of new laws on a compressed workweek scheme.
In an ambush interview, Labor Undersecretary Dominador Say has already completed its position paper stating such bill are unnecessary since the Department of Labor Employment (DOLE) already has an existing regulation for the said work scheme.
DOLE already has three issuance on compressed work-week arrangement: Department Advisory No. 04-12 (Guidelines on the Implementation of Flexible Work Arrangements); Department Advisory No. 02-09 (Guidelines on the Adoption of Flexible Work Arrangement); and Department Circular No. 02-04 (Implementation of Compressed Workweek Schemes).
“What we are saying is…the legislation is no longer necessary since the Department of Labor already has several mechanisms for it,” Say, one of the members of the TIPC, said.
Aside from DOLE, the TIPC has representatives from other government agencies as well from the labor and business sector.
There are currently two pending bills in Congress about Compressed Workweek: House Bill (H.B.) No. 6152, which already passed the third and final reading, and Senate Bill (S.B.) No. 1571.
Say said the TIPC also expressed its reservations on the bills’ possible negative effects to the health and employment of workers since it might require them to regularly work beyond eight hours.
H.B. 6152 and S.B. 1571 allow companies, if they would meet certain conditions, to require their employees to work beyond eight hours in a day in exchange of working only 4 to 5 days in a week.
In its position paper on Compressed Workweek, the TIPC said workers affected by it have a higher chance of developing disease and injuries associated with longer working hours like hypertension and stress.
The TIPC also pointed out the legislation may be abused by some erring companies to reduce their workforce.
“If the production output for the week can be produced by 2 shifts in 4 days, then there is the high probability that the third sift will be eliminated,” the TIPC said in its position paper.
Say stressed the TIPC is not against the principle of a compressed workweek as long as it would be temporary, reserved for certain situations, and not affect the benefits of workers.
He said the TIPC is set to submit its position paper to the Senate in the coming days to help lawmakers make an informed decision on whether to pass or junk SB 1571.