Bill on flexible work arrangements hurdles final reading at Senate

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

May 20, 2019, 4:52 pm

MANILA -- The Senate approved on third reading on Monday a bill that will give employers and employees an option to adopt flexible working arrangements.

With 17 affirmative votes and no negative votes, the Senate approved Bill 1571 or the proposed Alternative Working Arrangement Act.

The bill seeks to amend Article 83 of the Labor Code by making an exception to the normal eight hours of work a day, when the exigency of business operations requires the adoption of a mutually agreed voluntary work arrangement between the employer and the employee.

Under the proposal, alternative working hours shall not exceed 48 hours a week and there is no reduction of existing benefits.

Senator Joel Villanueva, author and sponsor of the measure, said his proposal is an "answer to the changes in the labor market and in the nature of employment."

"As I always say, we are now in the age of robotics, the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0. Today, work need not be confined in a certain place or office. Work need not happen at the same time. Work can be done remotely," he said.

Villanueva, chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, noted that an alternative working arrangement or flexible working is a necessity and that every Filipino worker deserves to have this statutory right.

The senator shared that some companies are already implementing non-traditional working arrangements, such as flexitime, four-day workweek, compressed workweek, working from home, shift flexibility, among others, to give their workers more independence and control over their work.

Apart from the benefits the bill provides to employees, the senator said the bill has massive benefits as well to employers.

Among the benefits of flexible working arrangement to employers are less expense on recruitment and training, and huge savings resulting from the reduction of traffic congestion. (PNA)