European firms in RP mulling over 200-workday plan to avert layoffs

Business Mirror

Posted at Feb 13 2009 02:28 AM | Updated as of Feb 13 2009 10:28 AM

European businessmen in the country floated the possibility of implementing a 200-work day scheme this year to avoid resorting to layoffs of workers.

Henry Schumacher, executive vice president of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), said this arrangement, in which companies will just commit 200 working days for each of their employees, will be a workable solution in light of the current economic slowdown in the country.

“We do not want to lay off workers. We want to keep the people we trained. But we also want flexible hours in difficult times,” Schumacher said.

Currently, the Philippines has an average of 270 working days per year.

The ECCP has over 700 companies in its fold employing over 40,000 workers nationwide.

Schumacher said the ECCP is considering all the administrative remedies provided by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in its advisory issued last month outlining the guidelines for the adoption of the flexible work arrangements.

He said under the advisory, the DOLE will allow a shortened week to be applied for six months under the workdays reduction scheme.

Other options that the DOLE will allow are compressed workweeks, rotation of workers, forced leave, broken time schedule and flexi-holidays schedule.

The DOLE also encouraged both the employer and the employees to look for alternative schemes under any agreement to cushion the impact on the loss of income for the employees.

Schumacher said the 200 working days commitment that they are looking at is viable and can later be trimmed further with the DOLE’s approval based on the department’s advisory.

The ECCP is actually among the first business groups that called for the adoption of the flexible working schedules as a way to mitigate the retrenchment of workers among distressed companies. M. de Leon

Schumacher said except for the business process outsourcing sector, many of the industries in the country have already been badly hit by the international financial crisis.