'4-day work week bad for gov't employees, public'

By Dharel Placido, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Sep 29 2014 01:23 PM | Updated as of Sep 29 2014 09:23 PM

MANILA – A group slammed the move of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to allow government agencies in Metro Manila to follow a 4-day work week scheme.

Ferdinand Gaite, president of the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE), said the scheme needs more thorough study because it will have a great impact on the health and personal life of government employees.

''May epekto ito sa trabaho, dahil dati 8 hours ang trabaho, ngayon magiging 10 hours a day. Ibig sabihin yung pag-stretch ng oras, may epekto sa productivity ng manggagawa. Kaya tinututulan namin ito,'' Gaite told ABS-CBN News' Umagang Kay Ganda.

''Parang one size fits all solution ata ito. Kasi dati solusyon daw ito para sa problema sa kuryente, ngayon, problema sa traffic. Hindi ito makakatulong. Talaga bang inaral thoroughly? Ano ba ang impact ng pagbabawas ng four to five days?"

Under CSC's Memorandum Circular No. 22, from the normal five-day work week, the scheme implements a new schedule: from Monday to Thursday or from Tuesday to Friday. Working hours are then increased to 10 hours a day, or from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break.

Gaite said reducing an agency's number of work days per week will obviously affect the delivery of services to the public, even if the CSC has laid out supposed requirements before an agency can be allowed to implement the 4-day work week scheme.

Gaite also argued that the CSC has no concrete proof yet that the 4-day work week scheme will solve Manila's traffic problem.

Militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno also criticized the government for allowing the scheme, saying ''increasing the number of working hours from eight to 11, will negatively affect workers' health and violate workers' rights."

''It also raised the dangers posed by the scheme to workers who are paid on a daily basis and are subject to a 'no work, no pay' policy,'' it added.

Green light from CSC still needed

Speaking to dzMM, CSC chairman Francisco Duque III said an agency cannot yet implement the 4-day work week scheme without the approval of the CSC.

He said agencies have to meet four requirements in order to be allowed to implement the work scheme.

Duque said the first requirement is for the agency to provide the public with front line services that can be accessed through the internet.

Second is the establishment of so-called ''one-stop shops'' where the public can still do government transactions.

The third requirement is for an agency to have functional call centers where officers of the day are available to answer queries from people doing transactions with the government.

Lastly, government agencies are also required to provide the CSC their baseline data on their respective overall performance rating, employee absenteeism rate, tardiness rate, employee satisfaction level, employee turnover rate, electrical consumption, and client satisfaction rating.

Duque said the CSC might need about three months to determine if the 4-day work week scheme will be a success.

He said in case an agency's application for the scheme implementation is approved, it might still be required to provide a skeletal workforce on the fifth workday for one month so the public will know about the transition.