PH government to study proposed 4-day work week

The Philippine government recently announced it would look into the imposition of four-day workweek scheme during the holiday season, a proposal seen as a solution to the traffic congestion.

“We will evaluate all recommendations coming from any department or agency desiring to recommend,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.

On November 13, 2019, House Minority Leader Benny Abante Jr. sought the implementation of four-day work week during the holiday season among private firms and non-frontline government agencies situated along Edsa, the country’s busiest highway.

Abante made the proposal, as he anticipated heavy traffic during the Christmas season.

Abante urged private companies to maximize Republic Act 11165 or the Telecommuting Act, a law that allows employees to work from the comforts of their homes.

The House leader also appealed to Malacañang to consider his recommendation for non-frontline government offices located along Edsa, like the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Social Security System, and the Philippine Overseas Employment and Administration.

He noted that the proposed work arrangement would lead to 40-percent boost in productivity, based on the outcome of the technology giant Microsoft’s implementation in one of its subsidiaries in Japan.

Despite openness to the renewed call for the implementation of compressed work scheme, Panelo said the executive branch would also need to wait for the recommendations of the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).

“Siguro, pag-aaralan yun ng MMDA. MMDA nag-aaral nun. Kung ano ang rekomendasyon nila, wala pa (Perhaps, the MMDA will conduct a study. They will study it. They have yet to make a recommendation). These are still under study,” Panelo said.

A number of suggestions have been raised to address the worsening traffic condition along Edsa. The MMDA has recorded an average of 405,882 vehicles plying Edsa daily, as of August 2019.

Previous proposals of the MMDA to ban single-rider cars and provincial buses on Edsa have been met with strong opposition.

MMDA spokesperson Celine Pialago earlier said the agency would welcome “extreme” ideas that will solve the traffic problems along Edsa. (Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos, PNA)