‘Mass leave’ looms as teachers press for release of unpaid overtime pay

Published September 29, 2021, 2:33 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

Teachers and other education workers threatened to hold one-day synchronized absence if the government, through the Department of Education (DepEd), continued to fail in fulfilling its overdue commitment of releasing the guidelines for their overtime pay.

(JANSEN ROMERO / FILE PHOTO / MANILA BULLETIN)

Less than a week before the celebration of World Teachers’ Day (WTD), the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines staged a protest at DepEd Central Office in Pasig City on Wednesday, Sept. 29, to remind the agency of the Oct. 5 deadline for the release of the 87 days OT pay guidelines.

The group announced it will use its earned OT to stage a “mass leave” or a synchronized one-day of absence if “DepEd fails to meet the deadline.”

“It is downright insulting to our teachers for this to have gone on for too long, which forced our teachers to set an ultimatum—in Teachers’ Month no less,” ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio said.

ACT called on the DepEd to fulfill its overdue commitment of releasing the guidelines for teachers’ overtime compensation which, per teacher, amounts to at least P23,605.71 and 87 days worth of service credits.

The group earlier set an ultimatum for DepEd to release the guidelines for public school teachers’ overtime compensation on or before Oct. 5—after which, the group vowed to “claim their overtime credits through a mass leave.”

Basilio lamented that teachers have been working continuously for the past 13 months and they have yet to receive the payment for the overtime they have rendered. “Does DepEd really have no shame left?” he asked.

ACT also decried the “inhumane increase” in teachers’ workload this school year.

“How thick-skinned DepEd can be to shamelessly increase the workload of our teachers and demand even more from them, while DepEd itself continues to run away from its legal obligation to compensate our teachers’ overtime pay?” Basilio said.

The group said that while teachers are “neck-deep in the health and economic crises with measly salaries and overly delayed benefits,” they have yet to receive proper compensation or any form of valuable aid from the government.

“It’s not like we’re asking for alms here,” Basilio said. “This is our teachers’ hard-earned labor—a clear proof of our dedication to education delivery despite grave state abandonment [and] it’s the government’s most basic duty to properly compensate their employees for services we rendered,” he added.

ACT noted that a minimum of P20.8-billion is needed in the 2022 budget to provide the 25 percent overtime premium for 87 days of overtime.

This amount, the group said, is computed according to the number of teachers per teaching position and their corresponding step-1 pay grade according to the first tranche of the Salary Standardization Law of 2020.

(Photo from ACT Philippines)

Meanwhile, the group reminded DepEd that it has “six days to meet our teachers’ deadline.”

“DepEd should remember that we would not sit idly as our teachers are refused of their rights,” Basilio said.

“We will claim what is due us, and remind DepEd to fulfill its obligations to teachers, whom they are sworn to serve,” he added.

 
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