Government plans 4-day workweek in the thick of COVID-19 threat

by Justine Punzalan
Mar 11, 2020
Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles spells out some ways to keep people in their jobs in the face of a business downturn caused by CoVid-19 epidemic.
PHOTO/S: KATEMANGOSTAR ON FREEPIK

The Civil Service Commission is considering a four-day workweek scheme for government offices to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus (CoVid-19) in the country.

This was revealed by Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles in an interview on ANC's Headstart aired Monday, March 9, 2020.

Nograles, who is also a member of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Disease, said, "Ang alam ko, pinag-uusapan na iyong four-day work week as one of the measures the Civil Service can do in terms of government workers."

He also said the Department of Labor of Employment (DOLE) has advised private companies to implement flexible work arrangements in the face of business downturns caused by the epidemic.

Nograles stated: "On the private sector naman, the Department of Labor and Employment actually just recently issued an advisory that sort of regulates or puts into place iyong flexi-work arrangements.

"So right now, ang ginagawa ng Department of Labor and Employment is trying to discourage business from laying off and retrenching more workers, but adapting a flexi-work arrangement instead, especially in the tourism and travel industry."

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Nograles added it was not nessary for companies to lay off staff for this reason.

"What we are trying to say is, this CoVid-19 at one point, in the near future, we'll be able to control this...

"And because it's temporary, maybe we don't need to retrench or fire off our workers.

"But if we adopt a flexi-work arrangement, iyong flexi schedule o holiday flexi-time, these certain arrangements, then the security of tenure for the workers is still there."

In relation to this, DOLE Secretary Marianito D. Roque stated, in the department's website, that the advisory issued January 30, 2020, "should be anchored on voluntary basis, and, thus, must have the consent of both labor and management."

Employers are also required to notify their DOLE Regional Office prior to the imposition of any flexible work arrangements.

Possible work setups that employers and their employees may consider are: compressed workweek, reduction of workdays within six months, rotation of workers, forced leave, broken-time schedule, or flexi-holidays.

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DOLE also said that the employees can choose to change the schedule of their holidays "provided there is no diminution of existing benefits as a result of such arrangement."

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Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles spells out some ways to keep people in their jobs in the face of a business downturn caused by CoVid-19 epidemic.
PHOTO/S: KATEMANGOSTAR ON FREEPIK
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