Starting December 1, the Supreme Court (SC), the appellate courts, and the trial courts nationwide will adopt a four-day workweek for officials and employees, but all courts will still be open Mondays to Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
This means 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.
The traditional practice of flexible time and overtime work for employees have been cancelled starting December 1.
Chief Justice Diosdado M. Peralta, in a circular, said the adoption of the four-day workweek is in line with the directive issued by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) last October 15 for implementation during the period of health emergency due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the start of COVID-19, Chief Justice Peralta has issued various circulars to assure that all courts are functioning. Among these are the adoption of video conferencing for hearings on civil and criminal cases, on line filing of petitions and other pleadings, and maintenance of skeleton staff in all courts.
Under the SC’s circular on four-day workweek, 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 SC guidelines, under the circular:
a. “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 eighty percent (80%), from Monday to Friday.
b. “All officials of the different offices of the Court are required to render forty (40) hours a week.
c. “The workweek schedule of employees shall be compressed to four (4) days a week with fixed office hours from 7 :30AM to 5 :30PM, for a total often (10) hours a day or forty (40) hours a week.
d. “The total number of employees in the office will be divided into five (5) groups. Each group comprising of 20% employees will be assigned a weekday’s off from work. The office shall continue to operate and be open 5 days a week with not less than eighty percent (80%) attendance.
e. “Subject to the discretion of the Chiefs of Offices and services, the groupings, new work schedules and supposed rest day/day off may be changed or modified, upon prior notice to the employees.
f. “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.
g. “The rendition of ove1iime (OT) 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.
h. “The appellate courts (i.e. Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan and Court of Tax Appeals) and the lower courts through the Office of the Court Administrator are enjoined to prepare their separate guidelines for implementation, and to submit the same to the Office of the Chief Justice for approval, within ten (10) calendar days from receipt hereof.”