Senate bill recognizing flexi-time, compressed work week passes on final reading

The Senate has approved the bill that recognizes work arrangements such as flexi-time and compressed work week on third and final reading on Monday afternoon, May 20.

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“We are grateful to our colleagues for seeing the value of this law, especially that factors such as traffic affect the quality of their lives,” explained Senator Joel Villanueva, principal author and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 1571 or the Alternative Working Arrangement bill. “With this bill recognizing alternative working arrangements, we provide more options for both employers and employees to render their work in the most efficient manner.”

Villanueva, chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, reiterated that the work arrangements such as flexi-time, compressed work week, and shift flexibility, among other arrangements are voluntary and subject to the agreement between employers and their employees.

Employees under alternative working arrangements should continue to receive minimum statutory benefits, as well as overtime pay and night differential pay, among others, Villanueva added.

Citing a study by the Institute of Labor Studies in 2009, Villanueva said employers are keen to adopt flexible or alternative work arrangement as a means to adjust to the demands of the labor market.

The measure “provides a guide and institutionalizes the policy on the adoption of alternative work arrangements,” the senator added.

Other benefits include maintaining work-life balance among employees; increasing worker efficiency by matching work schedules with the workers’ most productive hours; saving transportation costs for employees, and cutting operating costs such as electricity and water consumption for employers, Villanueva said.

The bill will be sent to the bicameral conference to be reconciled with the counterpart version by the House of Representatives.

Villanueva is optimistic that despite the remaining session days, the bill can be sent to the President for his approval just before Congress closes its 17th regular session on June 5.

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