DOLE backs 4-day work week scheme if it reduces cost: exec

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 17 2022 10:40 AM

Commuters board a jeepney at a transport terminal on Tejeros Street in Makati City on March 01, 2022, on the first day under COVID-19 Alelrt Level 1 status. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Commuters board a jeepney at a transport terminal on Tejeros Street in Makati City on March 01, 2022, on the first day under COVID-19 Alelrt Level 1 status. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Department of Labor and Employment supports the proposed 4-day work week scheme if it will reduce cost, an official said Thursday.

The proposal was made by Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua in place of the wage hike sought by labor groups to cushion soaring oil prices' impact to the commuting public. 

"Yes if this is meant to save cost then I think the Civil Service Commission will want to issue guidelines on this. Even prior to this proposal there were already offices implementing 4-day work week," DOLE Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez told ANC's Headstart.

"We can appeal to the private sector to implement a 4-day work week because again it’s a management prerogative. Employers have to decide on this, it’s within their sole jurisdiction."

The labor agency has also proposed a P24 billion wage subsidy for minimum wage earners, Benavidez said.

"I think that's more or less P5,000 for a minimum wage earner for a period of 3 months. We've requested additional funding from the Office of the President. I think this is now under consideration," he said.

"Given the limitation of funding, we deem it proper to prioritize 1 million of micro enterprises. They are the most affected."

Meantime, it would be up to business process outsourcing firms whether to direct its employees to return onsite to enjoy benefits under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) law and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) law, Benavidez said.

"For companies to enjoy the fiscal and nonfiscal benefits, they have to operate within the zone. Although during the height of the pandemic, when there were strict restrictions, they were allowed to work from home. I think it’s now high-time to go back to work. In the DOLE, the matter of implementing telecommuting arrangement is up to the management," he said.

"The decision to work from home is left on the employer... if they refuse to direct their employees to return to work physically then again they may lose the incentive but it wont cost the employees their employment."

Regarding the emergency work program TUPAD, the DOLE has hired additional manpower to monitor local governments and emergency workers, Benavidez said.

This, after the program was suspended in three districts in Quezon City following allegations that some officials allegedly pocketed the majority of the salaries of its beneficiaries.

"What we have learned with this particular report, we really need to closely monitor the implementation in payment. That’s why we hired additional personnel to do that," he said.

"Ang nangyayari po kasi yes nagtrabaho o hindi nagtrabaho pag pupunta na po sa remittance centers nandun na po yung exchanges of money. Until that point kailangan po namin i-monitor yun."

(What happens is some workers do their job, some don't. When it comes to the point where they receive their pay in remittance centers, that's where exchanges of money happen. We have to monitor until that point.)

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