By Hannah Torregoza
The Senate is now tackling two measures that aim to give hardworking government employees toiling in the wee hours or in hazardous areas a new night-shift differential pay and hazard pay.
The two measures—Senate Bill No. 1562 and Senate Bill No.559, which were sponsored and authored by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, chair of the Senate committee on civil service, government reorganization and professional regulation, are now in second reading.
“Our government workers have long suffered neglect and poor working conditions. This Act is just a simple effort to repay them for their service and to recognize their role as the backbone of our government,” Trillanes said.
Senate Bill No. 1562 proposes a night differential pay for government employees “at a rate not exceeding 20 percent of the hourly basic rate of the employee for each hour of work performed between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
The senator said the night shift pay is part of the committee’s recognition of the “sacrifices of government employees who work late at night and in the wee hours of the morning.”
“It is only fair that they should be given substantially the same benefits as those given to employees in the private sector,” he stressed.
Government employees who are not covered by the proposed Act, are public health workers who are already covered by Republic Act 7305.
The new night-differential rates bill do not also cover government employees whose services are required, or are on call, 24-hours a day such as the uniformed personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP), the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP). According to Trillanes, uniformed personnel have a different salary rate.
But Trillanes assured that under this bill, the night differential pay would also apply to workers of government-owned or controlled corporations or GOCCs.
On the other hand, Senate Bill No. 559 proposes a hazard pay that shall be received by all government employees who are stationed or assigned to work in hazardous areas, as may be declared by the Secretary of National Defense; difficult areas or hardship posts characterized by distance, inconvenience of travel due to bad roads and conditions of the terrain, isolation, inaccessibility and extreme weather conditions; x-ray units, clinics, laboratories, sanitaria, leprosaria, observation posts and other similar stations which offer risks to health and safety due to exposure to radiation, contagious diseases and volcanic activity; and institutions that tend or care for mentally-deranged patients.
Senate Bill No. 559 also covers government workers who are assigned to places that are subject to depredation by criminal elements as those in prison reservations and penal colonies without adequate police protection; plants and installations of the arsenal; those aboard aircraft and watercraft in crossing bodies of water; and other similar work conditions which the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) shall consider hazardous on the basis of exposure to environment, health and social risks.
‘The committee believes that it is only fair and reasonable that the officials and employees of the government be provided with appropriate compensation for the risks they assume in connection with the performance of their duties,” Trillanes said.
“After all, it is the government’s responsibility to protect and look after our government officials and employees whose lives are constantly at risk in order to serve our people,” he added.
Both bills state that the night differential pay and the hazard pay could be received by government employees “regardless of the nature of their employment, whether permanent, contractual, temporary or casual.”
Senate panel tackling two measures granting a new night differential pay and hazard pay for gov’t workers