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May 17, 2017
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It was February this year when Baguio Representative Mark Go filed House Bill No. 5068, amending certain provisions of the Labor Code of the Philippines and suggesting a compressed workweek. This will be done by increasing the working hours per day but reducing the working days per week.

"The concept of compressed work arrangement refers to alternative arrangements or schedules other than the traditional or standard work hours and work week," Go said in a report. "Through this method, the normal workweek is reduced to less than six days but the total number of normal work hours per week shall remain at 48 hours."

He adds: "With this proposal, employees are entitled to an additional one or two rest days apart from the given normal rest day depending on the compressed work schedule as determined by the employer."

And just yesterday, the bill has finally passed through the Labor and Employment Committee of The House of Representatives. The next step? The Plenary Affairs Bureau, where the members of the Congress will discuss whether the bill lives or dies.

With just a few steps away from approval (or disapproval), we can’t help but wonder, what would happen if this bill materializes? Here are some pros and cons:

THE PROS:

1) It will prevent employees from burning out

Who doesn’t like having an extra day off from work? Spending 48 hours per week at work can really be a drag. A 3-day weekend will allow employees to spend more time with their loved ones, as well as have some extra time to pursue their other passions and hobbies. In return, they’ll be more revitalized for the next week's work because happy people tend to work harder. Work-life balance, anyone?

2) It will decrease traffic

Lawyer Romulo Macalintal agrees with the implementation of a four-day workweek, as this could help solve the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila. How?

"Under this scheme, there will be one day off from work per week on a staggered basis in various cities in Metro Manila," Macalintal said in an interview. "A combination of the cities in the alternating arrangement of four-day work week will depend on the number of population or traffic condition in the area as may be determined and recommended by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA)."

If this happens, it’ll be easier for employees to get to and from work. And a faster commute means more time at home and less money spent on fuel. 

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3) It will provide employees more time to complete tasks and beat deadlines

Because employees are spending longer time at work, there's more room to complete their tasks. They don't always have to leave an unfinished assignment and complete it the next day. According to a recent study, less work hours actually make employees miss the flow of work and it takes an average of around 15 minutes to get back into the flow. Hence, if a compressed workweek happens, it means less time will be wasted and more productivity can be achieved.

4) It will lower the utility bills of employers

One great advantage that companies will experience if a 4-day workweek happens is their utility bills will decrease. This is because there'll be less start up energy needed.

THE CONS:

1) It will take time to get used to an extended working day

Just like every change, getting used to a new pattern is difficult as it will disturb the natural cycle an employee is already used to. And abrupt changes can cause fatigue and stress, which may affect overall office performance.

2) An ongoing compressed schedule can lead to chronic fatigue

10 hours of work a day is draining on anyone. Add the request of an unexpected overtime, and for sure, the fatigue will set in.

3) …which also means employees will be less productive

Of course, when employees get tired, a decrease in their productivity happens.

4) More hours is equal to more employee breaks

Increasing workday hours may also mean that there may be a need for more breaks within the day. Employees, especially the stubborn ones, will be prone to taking more short personal breaks at work. 

5) It will be a challenge for working parents with young children

A compressed workweek may give employers three days off, but it will be a challenge for working parents who have young children. Attending to the needs or appointments that are family oriented might be difficult since less flexibility will be expected because there are only 4 days of work.

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