Mariano Marcos State University (Contributed photo)

LAOAG CITY – Over a thousand faculty and staff of the state-run Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) will shift to a four-day workweek under the Civil Service Commission’s (CSC) approved flexible working arrangements.

For working mother Sherlyn Nicolas of the MMSU Extension Directorate office, the new arrangement will take some adjustments as she will wake up earlier than usual in order to prepare breakfast for her children and her husband, who is working, too.

“If you are a mother and you don’t have a nanny, it will be harder for the kids left at home but it would lessen transportation expenses.” said Nicolas when asked about the compressed work schedule of MMSU beginning June 27.

The June 24 memo signed by MMSU president Shirley Agrupis said the employees’ official work time will be from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. for four days, in order to complete 40 hours weekly.

With faculty members reporting from Monday to Thursday, there will be no classes on Fridays and Saturdays, except for those attending the National Service Training Program classes.

To accommodate academic concerns on Fridays, colleges will have officers of the day.

Employees in various offices across university campuses will also follow the four-day work scheme.

To achieve full operation from Mondays to Fridays, there will be work shift arrangements.

The four-day workweek does not apply to the faculty and staff of the Graduate School, College of Law, College of Medicine, and personnel of the security, medical, and general services units of the university due to the nature of their operations.

“These rules shall apply for the duration of the validity of CSC Resolution No. 2200209, unless sooner revoked,” the university memo stated.

The municipality of Piddig implemented the flexible working policy on June 15, the first local government unit in Ilocos Norte to do so.

The CSC scheme seeks to “institutionalize flexible work arrangements as part of the nationwide effort to transition from a state of public health emergency to the new normal” and serves as “a preventive measure to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of government officials and employees” while ensuring continuous operations and delivery of services.

Some local business groups and workers in the province, however, expressed opposition to the four-day workweek.

Ricardo Tolentino, president of the mango growers association, said it may hurt the productivity of small businesses and their workforce.

While acknowledging that the compressed four-day work week could help save on fuel and electricity, he said it is just a “band-aid solution”.

"It is not good for business and the marginalized earners who need to work daily to make ends meet,” he said.

Under the Labor Code, a normal work week comprises 40 to 48 hours and five to six days at eight hours per day. (PNA)