Lawmaker files "Workers' Rest" bill defining official work hours

PHILIPPINES: Representative Joaquin Chipeco of Calamba City has filed the “Workers’ Rest” bill within the national parliament.

The bill seeks to define the employees' non-working hours and ensure their welfare.

“The ascendancy of digital technology, triggered to a great extent by the pandemic, has practically blurred the delicate line between the home and the workplace so much so that many employees have been reduced to an ‘on call’ status at practically any time of the day,” Chipeco stated in a note attached to the bill.

The bill features the following prohibitions on most employers:

  • Requiring employees to work outside of normal work hours

  • Requiring employees to be on duty, to travel, to be assigned to a place in connection with work outside of normal work hours

  • Contacting the employee for work and work-related purposes outside the normal work hours unless the employee is notified in connection with the emergency or urgent work outlined in other article of the Labor Code.

  • Punishing the employee for not responding to communication during rest hours.

Chipeco said that employees who work from home and beyond the maximum duty hours required by law under the “new normal” are being asked to risk their mental wellbeing. "(This) will also affect their solidarity with their families,” he added.

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