4-DAY WORKWEEK IN MANILA #opinion


Manila: Citing the horrendous traffic situation in the capital and in order to strike a “work-life balance”, the government announced that it is adopting a four-day workweek for public servants in Metro Manila.

Under the new work scheme, the government offices in Metro Manila have the option to adopt the new schedule in place of the traditional five-day working scheme.

A memorandum circular was issued by Dr Francisco Duque, chairman of the Civil Service Commission (CSC). Under the compressed work week, government offices will allow employees to work for only four-days a week in exchange for slightly longer working hours.

The four-day workweek scheme is an alternative arrangement whereby the normal week is reduced to four days but the number of work hours per day in increased to 10 hours so that the total number of work hours per week remain at 40 hours,

Government agencies could either adopt an arrangement where their employees will work from Monday to Thursday or from Tuesday to Friday.

Under the scheme, the head of the agency can suspend the implementation of the four-day work scheme if “problems in the delivery of quality service” to the people if affected.

(excerpted)

The said memorandum gets mixed reactions, and as for us, our vote stands this way:

Working straight for five days is not really a problem for Filipinos who are dedicated and diligent enough for their work, They even do overtime, and also work during holidays when it should be non-working holidays. But here, it is not question on the working schedule or how one worker behave in his work, it’s about a work-life balance, this four-day workweek for public servants in Manila, our capital city and center of economy, is not for the benefits of some people only, for the working forces of Manila, it is for the whole country, for our global competitiveness.

There are a lot of good reasons for moving to a shorter workweek. If the workweek is already five days, as it is in most advanced economies, then moving to a four-day workweek doesn’t just make good sense.

The shortened work-week will not only allow the government employees to “save energy and ease traffic congestion” in NCR, just like what Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said. For us, It’s more than that.

Yes, Massive traffic jams is one of the everyday scenario and also a problem for the Filipino most especially in the cities, it seems that we are already used to it, Everyday, workers in the government as well as the private sector face difficulties getting to their work places because of the heavy traffic. This shortened workweek will actually help ease this traffic congestion.

We really need to grapple with our worsening traffic condition and if shortening workweek is a viable solution, it should be pursued. The impact of bad traffic, which would only cost great financial losses to the government and to the private sector And it would actually cost billions in economic losses.

As for the health issues, we all know that Working too much is bad for one’s health .The costs of long working hours in terms of occupational health and safety are staggering. And such diseases that may arise from overworked are cardiovascular diseases, gastrointestinal and reproductive problems, chronic infections, mental health problems and even death as among those health risks faced by overworked people. And if you have a lot of time for yourself you can manage to overcome stress related activities, you can pamper your body as well as your mind. For short it may extend your lifespan. Also if you are always refreshed, revitalized and out of stress you can easily perform at your peak state thus offering better results to work responsibilities. And actually working fewer days will made one happier.

Even Studies have identified regular long working hours as an important predictor of work-life conflict, This may sound obvious, especially to anyone with kids or elderly parents to care for, but the facts show that long work weeks can lead to more stress and anxiety at home, even for a typical student studying fewer days brings happiness .In fact, a new study has shown that a shorter workweek was directly related to an increase in overall life satisfaction, or happiness.

A four-day workweek will offer you enough time not with just yourself but also with your family. Imagine your time with your family extended, the interactions and happiness that will be built will be immeasurable thus resulting to a tighter and stronger family bond. And Leisure and Family Time is really a must and should not be guaranteed.

A shorter workweek would also create more and better jobs that will surely lead to increases in employment and productivity. This country is too focused on stress and does not realize that less stress would equal higher productivity. Three day weekends would lead to higher GDP and lower unemployment. It’s just that simple. To pull out of recession we must have a three – day off.And adding to more hours is not really a burden, this would actually increase our momentum while working that will surely result to efficiency of work.

One Filipino group opposes the new work schedule, saying it would have a bad effect on the “work-life balance” as workers would end up some days spending more hours at work than with their families. Also, it may result in a decrease in productivity and leave workers more vulnerable to criminals as they would be going home late from work.

But as for our stand, we believe, people are more productive when they work less.

It’s simply not true that long working hours equal high productivity. On the contrary, many of those countries where workers work the longest have relatively low labor productivity. Shorter work hours had been shown to boost workers’ motivation, lower absenteeism, reduce the risk of mistakes and accidents, and discourage employee turnover.

Cutting the workweek  is good for businesses too, adding that working less would also be good to environment .It’s pretty clear that the more we work, the bigger our ‘carbon footprint’ will be. Cutting back on the number of days of working and thus the number of times that workers have to commute from  homes to workplaces is bound to  save a lot in the gasoline spent for that one extra trip to work, and on a national scale this could result in a lot of energy savings, reduce carbon emissions and ultimately make for a greener economy.

Although we are not yet belong to the country’s workforce and either from NCR,  we strongly believe that this will provide a better and positive result, and will pave way to efficiency and consistency of work. It is the next step in the long road to a happier, healthier, and more sustainable society.

Remember: The goal is to balance a life that works with a life that counts.”     —  Peter Block

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