CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 17 November 2018

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Shorter work-week but longer hours

MANILA (SE): The lower house of the Philippine congress is toying with a bill proposing a four-day work week. The member from Baguio City, Mark Go, proposed the bill to amend the Labour Code to require a four-day week instead of the current six days.
 
While it sounds inviting, wait until you read the small print. Go is not suggesting shorter working hours, but that people extend their normal eight-hour day to 12 hours, so they get their 48 hours done in a compressed period of time.
 
Overtime would only be counted when the 48 hours in the week is exceeded.
 
Go is arguing that he is not suggesting that this be applied across the board, but just remain on the books as an option. However, the option belongs to the company, not the worker.
 
He says that it will help productivity, but some questioned this, saying that as people are less productive when they are tired and 12 hours is a long shift, the move could be unproductive in the long run.
 
It was pointed that it contravenes the regulations set by the International Labour Organisation as well, which calls for an eight-hour day as the norm.
 
It was noted that the short week long hours system would be also open to manipulation, asking whether companies would stop their current habit of disturbing workers on their days off, and if they did not, then any benefit to the worker would be neutralised.
 
Others argue that what needs to be strengthened is a policy of employment over contractualisation, as while the four-day work week may allow the worker to save on fares and lessen congestion on the roads, in the long run the choices will belong to the companies and be manipulated to their own benefit.

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