The House of Representatives will be looking into the proposals of a senior administration lawmaker regarding the four-day workweek, saying it is a solution to the worsening traffic as the holiday season is just around the corner.
Dasmariñas City Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. encouraged the House committees on transportation, labor, health, economic affairs, and local government to scrutinize the potential of a four-day workweek.
Barzaga said the rest days may spend to have quality time with families and loved ones, citing studies that prove the effectivity of a better work-life balance.
Moreover, he said that the proposed working schedule would help lessen the number of vehicles, use of gas, electricity, water, and other utility consumption and expenses, as well as stress, meals, transportation costs, job satisfaction, teamwork, company loyalty, health of workers, and productivity.
“Under existing laws, government employees are required to work for 40 hours a week,” Barzaga said, suggesting a workweek from Monday to Thursday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., with a one-hour break time.
Meanwhile, private sector employees would be working from Tuesday until Friday, also starting from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a one-hour break time.
“This means office hours will run from 7 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., or a total of 10 hours a day for four days, thus meeting the required 40 hours of work per week among employees,” Barzaga added.
“Under this scheme, the traffic volume on Mondays and Fridays will be minimized since there will be less employees coming to work on these days. On Monday, no employees from the private sector and on Fridays no government employees will come to work,” he further explained.
“Considering also the early time of work at 7 a.m., employees will have to wake up and travel earlier than usual, thereby easing the rush hour. The same is true with their later time of going home at 6 p.m.,” he added.
Hitting two birds with one stone
Barzaga recommended the passing of the proposal as this will be addressing two issues—easing the traffic and promoting of employees’ wellbeing.
In December 2018, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the law on telecommuting where government and private employees are allowed to work from their homes and lessen their stress in experiencing horrendous traffic—Republic Act 11165 (An Act Institutionalizing Telecommuting as an Alternative Work Arrangement for Employees in the Private Sector).
Deputy Speaker LRay Villafuerte said 87% of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) are supportive or open to the idea of conforming to the law.
On the other hand, Camarines Sur congressman said the local companies are open if better internet connection will be provided, as this is crucial to accomplishing assigned jobs.
Meanwhile, the Japan International Coordination Agency (JICA) showed that the Philippines is losing about P3.5 billion daily due to traffic. It also predicts that by 2030, losses will amount up to P6 billion a day if dreadful traffic would remain until then.
Therefore, officials concluded that work-from-home may be the best solution and most innovative ways to maintain both the productivity of employers and employees across the country while decreasing the worsening traffic.