By Butch Fernandez, January 28 2019; Business Mirror

Image Credit to Business World

The Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources is endorsing early enactment of a law granting an option for flexible working arrangements between employers and their employees.

Sen. Joel Villanueva, panel chairman, has submitted for plenary consideration Committee Report 554 on Senate Bill 1571 amending Article 83 of the Labor Code of the Philippines that mandates employees to work “eight hours a day for five days.”

In sponsoring the measure, Villanueva clarified that “this is a relatively simple and straightforward bill” that seeks to amend Article 83 of the Labor Code by making an exception to the normal eight hours of work a day when the exigency of business operations or national emergency requires the adoption of a mutually agreed voluntary work arrangement between the employer and the employee.”

Villanueva said the bill proposes a mutually agreed voluntary work arrangements between the employer and the employee, “provided that, hours of work shall not exceed 48 hours a week and there is no diminution of existing benefits.”

He, however, made it clear that the proposed legislation also provides that health personnel in cities and municipalities with a population of at least 1 million, or in hospitals and clinics with a bed capacity of at least 100 should “hold regular office hours for eight hours a day, for five days a week.”

Villanueva said the bill further provides that, in case the employee is required to work for six days or 48 hours, the personnel is entitled to an additional compensation of at least 30 percent of his regular wage for work on the sixth day.

The senator added: “We believe that alternative working arrangement or flexible working is not just a fad but a necessity. We strongly believe that every Filipino worker deserves that we recognize it under our laws.”

“Now more than ever, companies allow non-traditional working arrangements like flexitime, four day workweek, compressed workweek, working from home, shift flexibility, among others, to give their workers more independence and control over their work,” he said.

The senator noted that workers who have more independence and control over their work are more productive and they deliver better results.

For instance, Villanueva cited a research project funded by the Economic Social Research Council based at the University of Kent in England titled, “Work Autonomy, Work Flexibility and Work Life Balance” showing that “when managers allow workers more discretion or control over their work, they deliver better performance outcomes or better productivity.”