Palace considers 4-day work week for government offices

By on September 30, 2014


Long days in a government office (Photo courtesy of techinasia.com)
Long days in a government office (Photo courtesy of techinasia.com)

MANILA, Philippines – Civil Service Commission’s Memorandum Circular No. 22, which encourages government agencies in Metro Manila to employ a four-day work week, is being carefully considered by Malacañang before they decide to implement it or not.

The scheme suggests a new schedule, from Monday to Thursday or from Tuesday to Friday. Working hours are also increased to 10 hours a day, or from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM, with an hour off for lunch break.

The four-day work week is seen by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) as a solution to ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

“In line with the CSC vision and purpose and in response to the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila brought about by major infrastructure projects, the CSC conducted a survey on alternative work schemes and employee services that may be adopted by the government,” the circular stated.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said in an interview, “While the four-day work week may ease traffic problems, the more important aspect is that public service is not affected.”

The proposal also sought to boost efficiency, productivity, and employee engagement.

“The quality of public service is paramount over anything else,” Coloma said.

The arrangement may be applied on a voluntary basis and policemen, firemen and hospital employees are excluded from the scheme because their services are urgently needed by the public.

Mixed Opinions

Labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines-Nagkaisa (TUCP-Nagkaisa) supported the scheme but pointed out that there is a need to consult the public sector workers first.

“There are pros and cons to the compressed work week scheme aimed at saving electricity, reducing traffic congestion and minimizing stress of workers. So consultations and social dialogue with public sector worker (are an) important factor before implementing the scheme to know the sentiments of the workers,” TUCP-Nagkaisa spokesperson Alan Tanjusay said.

Militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), on the other hand, shot down the plan saying it is unfavorable to workers who are paid on a daily basis.

“Unlike their monthly counterparts, daily paid workers are paid on actual days rendered. So the possibility is that they would be paid based on the number of days actually worked and not by the number of man hours spent,” KMU chairperson Elmer Labor said.

With report from Cyra Moraleda