MANILA, Philippines – Employers are opposing plans to further reduce the number of working days through additional holidays, saying this will lead to lower labor productivity and higher cost of doing business in the country.
In a position paper, the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) expressed opposition to various bills pending before the Senate committee on education, arts and culture seeking the reduction in the number of working days through the declaration of more paid holidays.
“Any further reduction in the number of working days through additional holidays would have a cumulative adverse impact not only on productivity but also on the cost of doing business. Employers who find it necessary to operate on such non-working days will have to pay double over and above the regular wage of workers for the first eight hours of work,” ECOP said.
“These are the reasons why ECOP is not in favor of bills declaring additional national holidays. ECOP prefers any additional holiday be celebrated as special working days,” the group added.
ECOP said there are currently 18 national non-working days in the Philippines, 12 of which are paid holidays and six special days.
Regular holidays are paid non-working days, while special days are unpaid non-working days that particularly apply to daily-paid wage workers based on the principle of “no-work, no-pay.”
Aside from holidays and special days, ECOP said there are also paid leaves to which male and female wage and salary workers are entitled as provided by law.
Summing up the number of all the national non-working days, corresponding paid leaves for male and female workers as well as the mandatory rest day per week to which all workers are entitled, data presented by ECOP showed that the number of working days left in a year for a male is 276 days or 9.2 months, while that for a female is 153 or 135 days equivalent to 5.1 or 4.5 months.
“The number of working days in a year becomes significant if correlated with the level of labor productivity of the economy as a key factor of competitiveness,” ECOP said.
The group said Philippine labor productivity had been ranked among the lower bottom half in the region over the past several years.
“Such low labor productivity impacts heavily on the overall competitiveness of the country. And based on the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum, Philippine competitiveness continues to rank as among the lowest in the region,” it said.
Among the bills being opposed by ECOP is Senate Bill 714 or “An Act Declaring Dec. 25-31 and Jan. 1 as Special Non-working Holidays” introduced by Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, Senate Bill 1270 or “An Act Declaring the Last Monday of January as ‘National Bible Day’ and Pronounce the Same a Regular Holiday and Every Year Thereafter” introduced by Sen. Emmanuel Pacquiao, Senate Bill 1301 or “An Act Declaring the Last Monday of January as the National Faith Day” introduced by Sen. Joel Villanueva, and Senate Bill 1432 or “An Act Synchronizing the Opening of All Classes in All Schools in the Philippines” introduced by Sen. Francis Escudero.
(Article and Image from www.philstar.com/business)