A group is urging the Department of Education (DepEd) to grant public school teachers with service credits and 25 percent overtime pay as the current school calendar necessitates them to render 77 days more working days than the mandated 220 school days in a school year.
“Our teachers have always given too much despite their circumstances, and they only ask for what is due them,” Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Secretary General Raymond Basilio.
Despite this, Basilio alleged that teachers, especially in public schools, “have received little to no support from the government for all their efforts since the start of the pandemic.”
ACT noted that the adjusted school calendar set the last day of classes to July 10, 2021 which requires teachers to work for 297 days since they started reporting for the school year on June 1, 2020 – including Saturday classes from October 2020.
Citing Republic Act 22480, which sets the maximum number of school days in a school year at 220 days, ACT noted that the present school calendar “deprives teachers of their proportional vacation pay “ – the only leave benefits accorded to teachers.
Meanwhile, ACT also called out DepEd for “once again dismissing teachers’ welfare and trampling on their labor rights.”
“It is not only inhumane to oblige our teachers to extend work for another three months without proper compensation, but the heavy amount of work demanded of them during these times is grossly abusive,” Basilio claimed.
Basilio also pressed the agency to grant “service credit for each day of work in excess of the mandated maximum 220 school days,” – including teachers who are availing maternity leave from April 6 to July 10.
DepEd is also pressed to give an additional pay of 25 percent on the daily rate of teachers for each day of overtime work’ in line with the provisions of the Labor Code of the Philippines.
These, Basilio said, should be immediately made available so as to “afford teachers of the needed wellness breaks from the extended school year and grueling distance learning.”
ACT also challenged DepEd to stay true to its vision of improving itself to “better serve its stakeholders” by heeding the demands of teachers as among its stakeholders.
Likewise, ACT urged the Duterte government to take the initiative to ensure teachers’ welfare – especially when health and economic crises “continue to worsen due to poor government response.”
Basilio also noted that warranting teachers’ welfare ensures education continuity and consequently improves the quality of education. “After all, what would the future of our country be without our educators?” he asked.
Members of the group on April 13 also skirted stringent quarantine rules amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic to call for “fair compensation to the lost leave benefits” of teachers. They held a protest action by installing teacher-standees in front of the DepEd Central Office in Pasig City.