A group asked the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to grant service credit – plus 25 percent of overtime pay – in place of lost leave benefits of teachers.
The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), in a statement on Monday, April 12 appealed to the CSC today to “recompense the lost leave benefits” of teachers under the proportional vacation pay (PVP).
For the group, requiring teachers to work for 13 months straight without a day of leave benefits this school year is “inhumane” and violates teachers’ labor rights. Given this, ACT requested the CSC to order for the grant of service credit for each day of overtime work – plus the payment of 25 percent of teacher’s daily rate for the overtime work rendered.
ACT, in a letter sent to CSC, noted that under regular school years, “public school teachers normally enjoy their PVP during April and May, but the sudden shift to distance learning and adjustments to the school calendar in response to the pandemic obliged them to render more than thirteen months of continuous and rigorous service, or an additional 77 days of overtime work, which included Saturdays.”
As teachers were made to report for work on June 1, 2020, ACT asserted that the teachers’ mandated service of a maximum of 220 class days in a school year per RA 11480 should have concluded on April 5, 2021, but after the two-time postponement of class opening and the succeeding adjustments to bridge learning gaps, the last day of classes was set to July 10, 2021.
“May we remind our government that our teachers are not machines, and they, too, deserve a break and should be compensated for their extended labor,” said ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio.
Basilio noted that many teachers have been getting sick due to the heavy workload under the distance learning set-up. “They cannot rest because there are still three months into the current school year so the least the government can do is to look after our educator’s welfare and heed their demands,” he added.
ACT noted that Per section 9 of CSCS memorandum circular No. 41 s. 1998, service credit is privilege granted to teachers for days that they are required to work outside of their regular workdays, which they can use to offset their absences.
The Labor Code of the Philippines, on the other hand, provides for the payment of 25% premium on the salaries of workers who were required to render overtime work, ACT said.
Despite the challenges brought by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Basilio said that teachers continue to attend to their duties for the sake of learners and education continuity. “And in return, they expect the government to ensure their welfare and respect their labor rights,” he added.
In particular, ACT urged the CSC to “formulate and implement just measures” for the grant of “service credit for each day of work in excess of the mandated maximum 220 school days, and additional pay of 25% on the daily rate of teachers for each day of overtime work.”
The group also requested that such service credits be available for the use of teachers immediately once earned to afford teachers of much-needed wellness breaks.
ACT further appealed that the service credits and overtime pay be accorded to teachers who will be availing of maternity leave from April 5 to July 10, 2021.
“As the health and economic crises continue to worsen, ensuring teachers’ welfare and benefits are at most crucial,” Basilio said. “If the government truly values our teachers and the future of education, they need to ensure that our educators are justly compensated for their services,” he ended.