Four-day workweek proposed

By Fernan Marasigan, BusinessMirror

Posted at Sep 05 2011 07:59 AM | Updated as of Sep 05 2011 03:59 PM

MANILA, Philippines - A pro-administration legislator has pushed for the adoption of 10-hour, four-day or 10/4 workweek in both public and private sectors, which would not only save on costs but also enable workers to have extended weekends with their families.

According to Liberal Party Rep. Winston Castelo of Quezon City, his draft proposal “Four-Day Work Week Act of 2011” will not change the traditional 40 hours of work every week or cut back on service or productivity.

“It will still be 40 hours a week, but the work schedule will run from Monday to Thursday instead of until Friday. Public- and private-sector employees will put in two additional hours of work daily,” Castelo said.

Castelo said the 10/4 formula could mean weekly savings of at least 20% in work expenses. He added that it could also serve as a “poverty alleviation” program by itself for cash-strapped workers.

“If a worker in Metro Manila spends P200 a day intransport fare, food and snacks, and other expenses in going to work—or P1,000 every week, the 10/4 workweek will mean a savings of P200 per week. For workers in the provinces, who spend an average of P100 a day, the weekly savings can reach P100,” Castelo said.

This can translate to weekly savings amounting to at least P20 billion for the more than 20 million private-sector workers and 1.5 million state employees, he added.

Castelo said the proposal seeks to address the economic difficulties caused by rising prices and stagnant wages, as he noted that the continuing increases in the prices of petroleum products have triggered a corresponding rise in the prices of goods and services.

Also, the legislator said the three-day extended weekend can make employees more revitalized and motivated because they would have more time to spend with their families and pursue other activity, including hobby and leisure.

The additional day-off, Castelo said can push workers to pursue other productive activities, including learning new skills to retool themselves and hone their competitiveness in the labor market.

“In the end, the 10/4 workweek can provide a positive impact on the worker’s morale and productivity in the workplace,” Castelo said.

On the part of the employers, the formula, he said can result in savings in terms of maintenance cost and employees’ overtime pay.

The former Quezon City councilor said that 10/4 workweek is already being enforced at the House of Representatives.

“Employees at the House of Representatives start at 8 a.m. and end up at 7 p.m. for a total of 10 hours of work every day. Yet service and productivity is never compromised by the shorter workweek and longer weekend,” Castelo said.