House proposes 4-day workweek to help ease traffic jams

Dasmariñas City Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. urged the House of Representatives to look into the proposals for a four-day workweek. According to Barzaga, this might be timely as he mentioned the worsening traffic situation as the holiday season draws near.

“Under existing laws, government employees are required to work for 40 hours a week,” he said, suggesting a work period of Mondays to Thursdays, starting from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., with an hour break time from noon to 1 p.m.

With regard to employees of the private sector, he proposed a “Tuesday-to-Friday schedule, starting also from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and with one-hour break time.”

“This means office hours will run from 7 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., or a total of 10 hours a day for four days, thus meeting the required 40 hours of work per week among employees,” he added.

Meanwhile, in a press conference, House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante Jr. revived the appeal for the implementation of a four-day workweek.

“I appeal to Malacañang to also study the implementation of a 4-day work week for non-frontline offices of national government agencies. In the past, the Civil Service Commission has issued guidelines for its adoption but rather than make it optional I suggest that the Palace consider the feasibility of doing this during the Holiday Season. This could also serve as a trial period to assess if such a scheme can work long-term,” he said.

Additionally, he urged the private sector to implement the four-day workweek as well.

“If the work of your industry is output-oriented, then by all means consider having your employees work from home, especially if they have access to the internet and can communicate and send their work without any hurdles. I also believe they should consider implementing a 4-day work week in the last month of the year just to help ease traffic congestion,” he added.

According to Abante, agencies like the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Social Security System and Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, which have offices near EDSA could implement this scheme.

In December 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the law on telecommuting where employees from both the government and private companies are allowed to work from their homes and lessen their stress in the daily plight of going through horrendous traffic.

The Japan International Coordination Agency (JICA) did a study and found the Philippines is losing about P3.5 billion daily due to traffic. JICA predicted that by 2030, losses due to traffic in Metro Manila alone will amount to P6 billion a day.

The work-from-home law is one of the best and most innovative ways of maintaining the productivity of both employers and employees in the light of worsening traffic in major cities across the country, officials said.

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