‘Flexi-time’ bill in Senate may reduce stress caused by traffic

Yes, please
by Drei Laurel | Jan 23, 2019
PHOTO: Paulo Rafael Subido

It goes without saying that moving around Metro Manila is a major pain in the a**, regardless of whether you drive a car or take public transportation. But it isn’t just the wasted time or everyday hassle of commuting that gets on our nerves: We need to deal with the pressures of work, too.

Specifically, we’re referring to the pressure of clocking in at the office on time. Not many professionals have the privilege to reside near the workplace, and it isn’t uncommon for employees to have to travel across town on a daily basis. But could a ‘flexi-time’ bill make things a little easier for the working class Filipino?

Senator Joel Villanueva seems to think so. In a sponsorship speech for Senate Bill No. 1571, otherwise known as the Alternative Working Arrangement Bill, the senator stresses the importance of giving workers more independence and control over their time. According to Villanueva, this will make employees more productive.

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“Now more than ever, companies allow non-traditional working arrangements like flexi-time, four-day workweek, compressed workweek, working from home, shift flexibility, among others, to give their workers more independence and control over their work,” he says.

The bill seeks to exempt employees from the standard eight-hour workday “when the exigency of business operations or national emergency requires the adoption of a mutually agreed voluntary work arrangement between the employer and the employee.” Under the bill, alternative working hours cannot exceed 48 hours a week and there will be no reduction in benefits.

To drive his point home further, Villanueva shared the story of Arlene G. Ylagan, an industrial engineering planner for Nestle Philippines.

Sabi ni Arlene, kahit anong oras pwedeng pumasok basta makumpleto ang eight-hour na trabaho kada araw. Hindi rin daw istrikto sa pagmo-monitor sa oras ang kumpanya dahil mas importante ang ‘output’ kesa sa oras na nilalagi ng empleyado sa opisina.

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Sa kaso ni Arlene, pumapasok po siya ng alas-siyete ng umaga hanggang alas-kwatro y medya para hindi raw masyadong ma-traffic at mas mabilis ang travel time. May iba namang empleyado na pumapasok ng alas-sais at may iba ring umuuwi ng alas-nuwebe ng gabi.

Nakatira sa Novaliches at may isang anak si Arlene na dalawang taong gulang. Ang kanyang asawa na isa ring industrial engineer ay isang OFW sa United Kingdom.”

Villanueva did acknowledge, however, that flexi-time is not suitable for all types of work. In Arlene’s setting, flexi-time only applies to administrative personnel and not employees in factories and distribution centers.

“Mr. President, Senate Bill No. 1571 is a very forward-looking bill and we can act proactively by passing this measure now. In view of the intensifying industrial era and the continuous stride in the country’s services sector, which posted the highest share to GDP of 59.3% during the third quarter of 2018, more and more jobs will be suitable to alternative working arrangements,” Villanueva pointed out.

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You can check out Villanueva’s full sponsorship speech on the Senate website.

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PHOTO: Paulo Rafael Subido
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