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Flexi work, an option to deal with COVID-19

Cebu City, Philippines. “Flexitime” work arrangements can come to the rescue of both the employees and employers as a remedial measure amidst the harsh effects of the on-going outbreak of COVID-19.

DOLE-7 Regional Director Salome O. Siaton said that Secretary Bello has issued yesterday Labor Advisory No. 09, Series of 2020 that provides for the guidelines on the possible alternatives that would help assist not only the employers but also the employees at these times when there’s a blatant threat against the country’s business and economy.

The Advisory highlighted the desirability and practicality of various flexible work arrangements as potential alternative coping mechanism and remedial measures.

Flexible work arrangements or the alternative arrangements or schedules other than the traditional or standard workhours, workdays and workweek will be in the form of the following arrangements, to wit:

1)Reduction of Workhours and/or Workdays, where the normal workhours or workdays per week are reduced;

2)Rotation of Workers, where the employees are rotated or alternately provided work within the week; and

3)Forced Leave, where the employees are required to go on leave for several days or weeks utilizing their leave credits, if there are any.

“Rather than business establishments closing down and workers getting displaced and terminated from work outright, the Department, considers the adoption of flexible work arrangements as better alternatives,” said Director Siaton, who admitted that the initial number of establishments in the Region submitting reports that their businesses are, in fact, affected by the on-going outbreak has significantly increased.

“We will be able to update everyone with the figures as soon as we are done harmonizing the data we gathered. We are also into polishing our monitoring tool so that numbers that we will be disclosing are reliable, a true representation of the extent of the effects of COVID-19 among the establishments particularly to the workers in Central Visayas,” added the Regional Director.

While these arrangements are seen as a way to cushion and mitigate the effect of the loss of income of the employees, the DOLE-7 Head reminded employers to make sure that there is consultation conducted among the workers before any type of work arrangement is implemented.

She added that the Department received reports from establishments saying they’re affected by the outbreak and that they’re implementing job rotations or forced leaves, among others, without specifying the exact duration of the implementation of such work arrangement.

“Remember, these flexible work arrangements are temporary in nature and are not forever. We would appreciate it if establishments will be able to make an estimate as to the period of time that they are implementing these kind of working arrangements. Of course, decisions such as the type of work arrangement that is to be adopted and the duration of time that it will be implemented will depend on the existence of the COVID-19 outbreak,” she said.

Establishments implementing the flexible work arrangements shall post a copy of Labor Advisory No. 09 in a conspicuous location in the workplace. “To give everyone access to the Advisory, we already have posted it in our official website - http://ro7.dole.gov.ph/,” she added.

Employers should notify the DOLE of the adoption of any of the forms of flexible work arrangements mentioned in the Advisory.

 

End//LSenarlo-Taniza

 

For more information on this report, you may contact Luchel SenarloTaniza, Regional Labor Communication Officer at telefax number (032) 266-2792 or you may send an email at dole_centralvisayas@yahoo.com.

 

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2020-03-05
SALOME O. SIATON
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