European firms in RP to cut working days

Published by rudy Date posted on February 13, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – European companies operating in the country announced they will be cutting their working days by 26 percent to cope with the continued slowdown in the global economy, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) said yesterday.

“We do not want to lay off workers. We want to keep the people we trained. But we also want flexible hours in difficult times,” Henry Schumacher, ECCP executive vice president said.

An estimated 40,000 workers will be affected by the reduced workday scheme. ECCP has 400 member companies nationwide.

According to Schumacher, their member companies are looking at reducing the number of working days by 70 days to only 200 working days from the original 270 working days. He explained that the notable reduction in days might be a workable solution to the current global economic slowdown.

He said this method could help reduce the possibility of a retrenchment. The ECCP said the reduced working days would translate in workers’ pay cuts but it is better than completely losing their source of livelihood.

However, Schumacher said he is not certain if the savings from the initial trimming of the work day is enough to mitigate the effects of the global recession.

He noted that the 200 working days commitment is viable and can later be trimmed further with the approval of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) should the current situation worsens.

At the end of January, DOLE issued guidelines on the adoption of flexible work arrangements. Under the advisory, DOLE specifically mentioned that it will allow a shortened work week to be applied for six months under the reduction of workdays scheme.

The DOLE will also allow other schemes such as compressed workweeks, rotation of workers, forced leave, broken time schedule, and flexi-holidays schedule.

The DOLE also encouraged both the employer and the employees to look for alternative schemes under any agreement to cushion the impact on the loss of income for the employees.–Ma. Elisa P. Osorio, Philippine Star

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