Group urges gov’t to pay for ‘40 days of overtime’ rendered by teachers

Published May 28, 2021, 11:58 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

A group of education workers on Friday, May 28 urged the government to compensate for the overtime rendered by teachers which started even before the opening of school year (SY) 2020-2021.

‘Teachers’ Overtime Counter Check’ (Photo from ACT Philippines Facebook page)

“Today marks the 40th day of overtime rendered by teachers,” Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Secretary General Raymond Basilio said. He claimed that for the last 260 days, teachers shouldered the responsibilities of the government in delivering accessible quality education.

“Our teachers and our learners alike suffered the effects of state abandonment even as we ourselves are grappling with the raging pandemic and economic crisis,” Basilio said. He also asked how long will the Department of Education (DepEd) and the Duterte administration “turn a blind eye to the needs of the education sector.”

Based on the computation of ACT, the government “owes” teachers – who are holding Position 1 – a “total of 40 overtime days, 40 service credit and P10,853.2 overtime pay.” Basilio also raised the most pressing issues that render teachers overworked, undersupported, and underpaid.

He also pointed out that “DepEd is yet to respond to their demand for overtime pay for the extra 77 days that teachers are made to work under the extended school year and more grueling tasks in distance learning.”

ACT said that a “significant number of teachers are made to report to school almost daily and made to conduct home visitations sans ample health protection or even a day of sick leave.”

Given this, ACT is demanding accountability from DepEd and from Duterte who both “repeatedly failed in doing their mandate to education and to their constituents.”

In particular, ACT called on the Duterte administration to ensure sufficient funding for the following urgent needs of education: P1,500 internet allowance for teachers and connectivity expense aid for students and gadgets for both; sufficient and timely provision of health protection and other labor benefits for education workers such as leave credits and overtime pay; genuine academic ease; and the overdue upgrading of teachers’ salaries to salary grade 15 and substantial raise in the pay of education support personnel to P16,000 minimum.

The group also urged DepEd to act on the “promised laptops and internet load” which remained unfulfilled as well as the overdue benefit like the Performance Based-Bonus (PBB) 2019 which is also “unreleased.”

ACT said that teachers are pressed to spend their scant salaries on distance learning expenses while the “Duterte regime continues to fall short” on its promised substantial pay hike to teachers.

“We’re still not able to enjoy our benefits and get paid for all the extra hours we put in, plus now we run the risk of contracting COVID-19 as we perform the tasks demanded of us. This is too much,” Basilio said – noting that the issues in the education sector have “shifted in form and worsened under the current setup.”