Concepcion: Whether four-day workweek or WFH goal is still economic recovery

March 23, 2022 People's Journal 177 views

WHETHER it’s a four-day workweek or a hybrid/flexible work arrangement, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said the goal is still to keep the engines of the economy going.

“Let’s not lose sight of the goal,” said the Go Negosyo founder. Concepcion said that he supports the return of employees to on-site work because it will encourage economic activity. He reiterated the importance of increased economic activity that results from employees returning to the workplace.

“Many small businesses such as cafeterias and transportation are built around employees’ presence in the offices. Encouraging people to return to the offices will spur economic activity among these MSMEs,” he said.

However, Concepcion believes that while hybrid work or a continuation of work-from-home arrangement may be possible for white-collar jobs and even BPOs, it may not be the case for employees who need to perform on-site work in manufacturing plants, render essential services, or handle physical goods.

“People who work in the factories, move goods, or perform services, they can’t do their work from home,” he said. “At this point, we are already learning what works for one doesn’t necessarily work for the other. I’m sure many will be open to the idea of a hybrid work-from-home arrangement, or for four-day workweeks, but we can’t have the same solution for everybody,” he said.

Moreover, he said that a four-day workweek for everybody might not be ideal as there are businesses that rely on regular work shifts to produce goods for consumers.“ A four-day workweek may not be enough to produce the goods that the market needs or for businesses to stay afloat,” he said.

The Go Negosyo founder said that imposing a four-day workweek arrangement for all businesses might disrupt workflows and affect costs, especially on businesses that rely on on-site work to be performed.

It was earlier proposed that workers render 40 hours of work per week over four 10-hour days in order to help businesses cut costs and insulate workers from rising fuel prices. It was made clear, however, that government can only encourage, not obligate, the private sector to adopt a four-day workweek arrangement. The Labor Code does not prescribe the minimum number of working days in a week, and workers’ consent will also have to be sought as the 10-hour workdays will mean setting aside the eight-hour workday.

“The imposition of a four-day workweek will have to be subject to government policies and guidelines which might take time to revise,” said Concepcion. “Meanwhile, we have to keep the economy open so more industries can offer jobs, and reduce the unemployment in the country.”

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