Four-day workweek ‘not ideal’ for all companies

WHILE there may be some workers who welcome the proposed four-day workweek for private sector workers and non-frontline positions in National Government agencies, a business leader said it may be counterproductive.

As a way to minimize traffic in major cities in the country, House Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante Jr. revived the proposal to implement a four-day workweek.

House Bill (HB) 6152, which seeks to amend certain provisions of Presidential Decree 442, or the Decree instituting a Labor Code, provides for a compressed workweek, which was first proposed by Baguio City Rep. Mark Go in 2017.

According to the explanatory note of the bill, a compressed workweek is an alternative arrangement and schedule other than the standard working hours.

In a compressed workweek, the normal working hours per day is increased while the number of work days per week is reduced.

The standard work hours per day is eight hours.

For Roniel Rosal, a fresh Engineering graduate currently employed as an assistant machine shop supervisor of a shipbuilding company in Mandaue City, said he is in favor of the compressed workweek as it will promote life and work balance.

“This will lessen the time I spend stuck in traffic. Having two or three rest days will help employees like me, who work eight hours a day for six days a week, have more time for myself and for my family,” he said in Cebuano.

Workers who opt for such an arrangement should be paid a fixed salary, he added.

“It would be better if the salary is fixed. If the work hours are increased from eight to 12, I don’t think there is room for overtime,” said Rosal.

He added he is aware of the health risks that longer working hours pose but he still believes there are other ways to stay healthy.

But businessman Rey Calooy, president of the Filipino-Cebuanos Business Club, said he is not in favor of the proposal, saying it would be counter-productive on the part of manual labor-intensive industries.

“Actually, as I see it, it only applies to certain industries like companies that can do telecommuting, those whose workers can do their tasks online. But as to the production side, I think it is not practical like in processing factories, in manufacturing,” he said.

He said the country could not yet compete with other countries in terms of machinery and automation in production work.

“Our Asian counterparts are very productive. Even if they have only four working days in a week, they have so many machines and computerized automation. But here, we rely on manual labor. It would affect productivity. Once it will affect productivity, it will affect our gross domestic product,” he added.

It would be better, he said, if the government would just focus on coming up with long-term solutions to the traffic problems. (WBS)