Flexible working hours bill gets final Senate approval
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate has unanimously approved on third and final reading a flexible working hours bill.
On Monday, 17 senators voted to approve Senate Bill No. 1571 known as “The Alternative Working Arrangement” bill filed by Senator Joel Villanueva, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Labor.
In his manifestation submitted on the floor, Villanueva stressed that the alternative working arrangement is “voluntary” and would still require employees to render 48 hours work per week.
“Bibigyang diin ko lang po ang nakasaad sa Senate Bill 1571: Ang alternative working arrangement ay boluntaryo, 48 hours per week pa rin ang trabaho, at hindi mababawasan ang mga kasalukuyang benepisyong tinatanggap ng ating mga manggagawa gayundin ang karapatan nila sa overtime pay, night shift differential at iba pa,” he said.
Villanueva said the measure would not only promote work-life balance, but would also improve worker efficiency.
It would also reduce the workers’ transportation costs and the employers’ operating costs, he added.
Under his proposal, employers and employees may agree to adopt flexible working arrangements, including a four-day workweek.
“One way to adopt a flexible work arrangement is to provide an option for compressed work,” Villanueva said in his explanatory note in the bill.
Under the standard work week, an employee is required to render eight hours of work for five days.
“In a compressed work week arrangement, the employee may opt to reduce the number of days dedicated to work, provided that the worker maintains the minimum of hours required,” he pointed out.
To safeguard the rights, health and well-being of employees, the bill though limits the work duration to 48 hours per week.
The Senate approval of the bill came two years after the House of Representatives passed a similar measure.
Once passed by the two chambers, they will meet in a bicameral conference committee and approve a reconciled version.
The approved version in the bicameral level will then be sent back to both chambers for ratification before the measure is transmitted to the President for signature. (Editor: Gilbert S. Gaviola)
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