Congress Passes Compressed Workweek Bill. Here’s What It Adds to the Labor Code

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val.aragon@salarium.com
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Congress Passes Compressed Workweek Bill

Last week, the House of Representatives approved on final reading House Bill 6152 – a bill that allows companies to opt for a 4-day or compressed workweek. Under this setup, employees can work beyond 8 hours a day in exchange for up to 3 rest days per week.

House Bill 6152 amends Articles 83, 87, and 91 of the Labor Code of the Philippines. It adds rules and conditions that will dictate how employers should implement a compressed workweek scheme. Here’s a glimpse of how the bill will change the Labor Code, and of what’s in store for those who work under  a compressed workweek arrangement.

More “normal work hours” per day

Article 83 of the Labor Code sets the number of work hours that is to be considered as “normal.” It says that “The normal hours of work of any employee shall not exceed eight (8) hours a day.” The bill exempts companies that follow a compressed workweek setup from this rule. For those companies, the normal work hours should “not exceed 48 hours.” Under a compressed workweek scheme, the total number of required work hours per week serves the basis for what’s considered as normal work hours.

Overtime pay after 48 hours of work per week

Article 87 tells us what overtime work is, as well as how much an employee should be paid for putting in extra hours. Currently, the Labor Code stipulates that an employee who works beyond 8 hours a day be paid “an additional compensation” equal to that employee’s regular wage plus at least 25% of the said wage. In a compressed workweek scheme, overtime pay will be given to employees who perform work beyond 48 hours a week.

The normal 48 hours will also become the basis for the computation of holiday or rest-day overtime pay. According to the bill:

“Work performed beyond eight (8) hours OR NUMBER OF HOURS UNDER A COMPRESSED WORK WEEK SCHEME on a holiday or rest day shall be paid an additional compensation equivalent to the rate of the first eight (8) hours OR NUMBER OF HOURS UNDER A COMPRESSED WORK WEEK SCHEME on a holiday or rest day, plus at least thirty percent (30%) thereof.”

Up to 72 hours (3 days) of rest period

Article 91 indicates employees’ right to weekly rest days. It states that employees should have a rest period of at least 24 hours after 6 consecutive normal work days. The bill says that, in a compressed workweek setup, the weekly rest period should be at least 48 but not more than 72 hours.

The authors of House Bill 6152 aim to give employers the flexibility that they need to fix their employees’ work hours and sync them with their business requirements. They also want to promote “business competitiveness, work efficiency, labor productivity, as well as cost efficiency.”

For it to become a law, the bill has to be transmitted to the Senate (where it should again go through 3 readings) and then to the President. Once implemented, the law goes to the Secretary of DOLE, who has 90 days to disseminate its implementing rules and regulations.

As an HR leader, what’s your take on the compressed workweek scheme? Do you think it will work for your company? Feel free to share your thoughts below!

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