A four-day workweek for officials and employees of the Supreme Court, the appellate courts, and the trial courts nationwide will be implemented starting December 1, but all courts will still be open Mondays to Fridays from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm.
Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta stressed that alternately, some court officials and employees have to take one day leave during weekdays and have to work for 10 hours a day to complete the required 40 hours of work per week.
Peralta said the traditional practice of flexible time and overtime work for employees have been cancelled starting December 1.
In a circular, Peralta explained that the adoption of the four-day workweek was in line with the directive issued by the Civil Service Commission last October 15 for implementation during the period of health emergency due to COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 health emergency has prompted the SC to issue various circulars to ensure that all courts are functioning. Among these are the adoption of video conferencing for hearings on civil and criminal cases, online filing of petitions and other pleadings, and maintenance of skeleton staff in all courts.
Under the SC’s circular on four-day workweek, Peralta said the heads of the Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, and Court of Tax Appeals – appellate courts – and all trial courts were required to prepare their guidelines for the implementation.
“The Offices of the Chief Justice and Associate Justices shall operate in accordance with the respective discretions of the Chief Justice and Associate Justices. All other offices and services of the Court shall be physically open and shall operate with not less than 80 percent, from Monday to Friday,” the circular stated.
“All officials of the different offices of the Court are required to render forty (40) hours a week. The workweek schedule of employees shall be compressed to four days a week with fixed office hours from 7:30AM to 5:30PM, for a total of 10 hours a day or 40 hours a week,” it said.
“The total number of employees in the office will be divided into five groups. Each group comprising of 20 percent employees will be assigned a weekday’s off from work. The office shall continue to operate and be open five days a week with not less than 80 percent attendance,” the circular added.
Subject to the discretion of the chiefs of offices and services, the circular requires that the groupings, new work schedules and supposed rest day/day off may be changed or modified, upon prior notice to the employees.
“The Chiefs of Offices and Services shall submit the 4-day workweek schedules to the Leave Division, Office of Administrative Services, Supreme Court, on a monthly basis for record purposes,” it said.
“The rendition of overtime services in the different offices and services of the Court, except in the Offices of the Chief Justice and Associate Justices, shall be suspended. Flexible time schedules shall likewise be suspended in the meantime,” it added.
The Supreme Court also enjoined the appellate courts, such as the Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan and Court of Tax Appeals, and the lower courts through the Office of the Court Administrator must prepare their separate guidelines for implementation, and to submit the same to the Office of the Chief Justice for approval, within 10 calendar days from receipt of the circular.