Firms urged to adopt flexi work hours

·3 min read

THE Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) has urged the corporate sector to adopt multiple and staggered hours to allow workers to start and finish work at different times.

“Some may start at 7 a.m. while others at 8 a.m., 9 a.m. and so on,” Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said in a statement.

The recommendation is contained in the joint advisory issued by the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Dole.

Bello said the move aims to allow more workers to report for work while complying with physical distancing requirements.

Through this measure, Bello said they also expect traffic congestion to ease and the demand for public transportation to decrease.

“With more Filipinos reporting for work, there will be more activities that can perk up commerce and trade,” Bello said.

But the Labor chief clarified that the agency is not doing away with the work-from-home policy.

“Work-from-home arrangements and other flexible workplace plans are still encouraged by the government,” he said.

Limited to some industries

While the measure is beneficial, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Steven Yu said the staggered work hours for employees cannot be practiced by all businesses.

“It is beneficial or applicable to certain industries and business types only. To attain social distancing, you either delegate some for work-from-home or you expand your workspace. Some use plastic dividers.” Yu said.

Since the strict quarantine measures were lifted in Cebu Province and Mandaue City, 30 percent of MCCI’s member-companies are 100 percent back to work while the rest are still in flexible work arrangements.

More businesses closing

But more than the flexible work schedule, Yu pointed out that the biggest hindrance faced by employers and employees is the lack of public transportation.

“The waiting line is very long in the late afternoon to evening. Employers are made to incur substantial costs shuttling their employees amid a very weak business environment. I heard many businesses are closing again in January if the situation does not improve. Some may not last until January and may close again in December,” Yu said.

The business leader wants the government to augment the public transportation.

“It seems that we need to allow more qualified PUJs back on the road and add more buses too,” he said.

Earlier, Cebu City Mayor Edgardo Labella approved the initial resumption of operations of 1,355 traditional public utility jeepneys in Cebu City.

Labella’s executive order stated that the resumption of traditional jeepney operations covers 18 routes from 10 barangays in Cebu City: Guadalupe, Lahug, Tisa, Basak San Nicolas, Labangon, Mambaling, Talamban, Inayawan, Bulacao and Kalunasan.

Meanwhile, to resume trade and tourism businesses in the province, Yu also called for a seamless entry to Cebu and a unified Cebu portal.

“We also have to make it easier for foreign and domestic travelers to travel to Cebu by lessening the requirements needed to enter. We should have a unified Cebu portal where they can register, and require only round trip tickets, hotel bookings and negative test results,” Yu said.

“We need tourism to bring back our strong local economy on top of the other initiatives. The trickling down effect of tourism is significant to our local economy,” he added. (HDT, SunStar Philippines, KOC)