House recalls 2nd reading approval of bill allowing 35-hour working week

Published November 23, 2020, 8:44 PM

by Ben Rosario

Second reading approval of a bill instituting a 35-hour working week scheme in the country was recalled last night upon the request of an administration lawmaker who used to be a human resources director of an American firm in the country.

MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO

On a motion on the floor by the majority bloc, the Lower House plenary agreed to reconsider the second reading approval of House Bill 309 authored by Albay Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda.

1PACMAN Partylist Rep. Eric Pineda said it was Baguio City Rep. Mark Go who sought the recall of the second reading passage of HB 309.

“Congressman Go requested that he be allowed to interpellate.  We agreed to his request because it is our belief that all sides should be heard in the enactment of a measure,” said Pineda, chairman of the House Committee on Labor and Employment.

However, Pineda said the House panel remains committed to pursue approval of HB 309.  He said plenary debate should start soon.

Go is reportedly a former human resources director of Texas Instruments Philippines in Baguio City and used to be the employers’ representative to the Regional Wages and Productivity Board prior to his election as congressman.

HB 309 sought to institute a 35-hour working week scheme as an alternative work arrangement for employees in the private sector.

Salceda, chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, said the bill will allow employees in the private sector to work for 35 hours per week, saying that this is line with the policy of the State to promote “not only higher levels of productivity but also the welfare of workers.”

“With this bill, this representation envisions a more robust economy, and happier workers in healthier workplaces,” said Salceda.

Under the bill, a 35-hour working week arrangement will be implemented upon the request of its employees or if the employers want to.

HB 309 provides that under a 35-hour working week scheme, employees should be guaranteed the following: 

1.   A rate of pay, including overtime, night shift differential and other similar monetary benefits, not lower than those guaranteed under the law or the collective bargaining agreements;

2.   Continue to be granted rest periods as provided for by law.

3.   To have equivalent workload and the same performance standards comparable to other employees in the same company.

4.   Be provided by the employer with written information on the terms and conditions of the 35-hour working week scheme.

 In cases of conflict between employers and employees on the said alternative working arrangement, the bill states that differences should be resolved under the grievance mechanism of the company.

However, for those without grievance machinery or whose mechanisms are inadequate, the grievance shall be referred to the Department of Labor and Employment. 

 
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