Filipinos who have been reduced to suffering in silence in terms of their unreasonable work hours found another strong ally in Partido Reporma standard-bearer Panfilo “Ping” Lacson, who said in a recent presidential debate that amendments to the Philippine Labor Code may be called for to address their plight.
Lacson mentioned this in harmony with the position taken by labor rights leader and fellow presidential candidate Leody’ de Guzman during a discussion about normalizing a four-day workweek schedule for workers amid the rising costs of petroleum products in the country.
This is a proposal that many employers are naturally challenging. De Guzman noted that under such an arrangement, employees would have to demand overtime pay if their work hours would be extended.
However, most employers were not willing to give it.
In light of this, Lacson said some provisions in the Philippine Labor Code would have to be adjusted to meet the objectives of the four-day workweek scheme.
“Ka Leody is right because (the workers) would be requesting for overtime pay. We would have to amend the Labor Code to allow this, so the workers would no longer need to demand overtime pay once they go beyond eight hours (of working),” said Lacson.
Earlier, Lacson said he is supportive of the four-day workweek schedule to help employees save on their transportation costs to and from their workplaces.
He saw it as a viable temporary solution while the country endures the impact of the Ukraine-Russia conflict, which triggered the steep rise of oil prices at the world market.
With the four-day workweek, we will have additional work hours. Instead of eight hours, workers would render 10 hours of service to meet the required 40 hours. So, their salaries—even the daily wage earners—are justified because it would appear they also worked for five days. This is only temporary.
Lacson also said he supports the appeal of people working in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry to extend their work-from-home arrangements, even as the entire nation transitions from a state of pandemic to endemic in its COVID-19 threat assessment, citing the Telecommuting Act.
On the request of the BPO sector to extend their work-from-home status from April to September, Lacson said he is in favor of it because a lot of their offices were forced to shut down and they wanted to continue their work-from-home setup.
Lacson mentioned that internet services in the country must be enhanced to support these measures.
To achieve this, the national broadband highway program of the government should be funded appropriately. It needs at least P18-billion, according to the senator. This is also connected with his plans for the digitalization of streamlined government transactions.
Lacson also cited high fuel and transportation costs, especially amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, as reasons for supporting calls to extend the work-from-home (WFH) set up for employees in call centers.
Lacson said that while the government needs to reopen the economy, it must take into account the plight of ordinary workers coping with higher costs of living due to high fuel prices.