Press Release
August 29, 2017

Villanueva bats for bill promoting flexible work arrangements including 4-day workweek scheme

Senator Joel Villanueva has formally filed a bill on Tuesday that gives employees and employers an option to adopt flexible working arrangements.

Senate Bill No. 1571 espouses alternative working arrangements that allow both employer and employee to agree on a beneficial arrangement of work that works best for both parties.

It amends Article 83 of the Labor Code which limits normal hours of work at 8 hours a day for five days.

Under the filed measure, an employer has an option to implement any type of flexible working arrangement which includes: 1) Compressed Workweek, 2) Gliding or Flexi-Time, and 3) Flexi Holidays Schedule.

In a "Compressed Workweek" arrangement, the employee may opt to reduce the number of days dedicated to work, provided that the worker maintains the minimum number of rendered hours required. The bill sets a minimum of 40 hours a week and a maximum of 48 hours per week.

"Gliding or Flexi-Time" refers to work which may be completed within the establishment but where they can determine their arrival and departure time. It means an employee may choose to start his work at any time he wants but still needs to complete the required work hours per day.

Meanwhile, "Flexi Holidays Schedule" is where employees agree to avail the holidays at some other days provided there is no diminution of resulting benefits.

The proposal is different from the Telecommuting Bill which Villanueva also authored. Telecommuting, or more commonly known as "work from home" is a scheme where an employee may accomplish his work tasks outside the office for at least one day a week. The bill was already passed on third and final reading in the Senate.

"The Flexible Work Arrangements Bill limits the work duration to [a maximum of] forty-eight (48) hours per week to safeguard the rights, health, and well-being of each employee. With this measure, an employee is given greater liberty to allocate his work hours to the number of days that works best for his situation," Villanueva said.

The senator also sees the proposal as one way to decongest traffic and lessen the hassle being faced by employees as they may opt not to go to work on a specific workday granting that they have already completed the required work hours.

"Lubos na makatutulong po ito lalo na sa mga manggagawa natin na lagi nalang naiipit sa matinding trapik papunta sa kanilang opisina at pauwi ng bahay. Sa halip na gugugulin nila ang oras sa pagko-commute ay mas magiging produktibo po sila, at ang oras na matitipid nila ay maaari pa nilang maibigay sa kanilang pamilya," the senator further stressed.

However, Villanueva clarified that the adoption of flexible working arrangements is voluntary on the part of employers and employees as well. Flexible working arrangements will also depend on the nature of work.

Among the countries which have already implemented flexible working arrangements are France and US (with 4-day workweek), and Sweden (with 6-hour workday under a two-year trial).

In the Philippines, some business process outsourcing (BPO) companies like Convergys have carried out compressed workweek scheme.

The Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development chaired by Villanueva will conduct a hearing on the said measure on September 13, Thursday.

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