The labor department yesterday reminded the private-sector workers and employers that the compressed workweek should be based on voluntary agreement of both parties and that it should not result in diminution of the existing benefits of the employees.

 Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said there is an existing DOLE advisory which recognizes the agreement between employer and the employees to implement the compressed workweek.

“The compressed workweek is not mandated, but we have existing guidelines on this. Its effectivity and implementation should be voluntary. We do not force them to implement the work scheme, because this is part of management prerogative. Both parties have the autonomy to reach an agreement as long as it does not violate our labor laws,” Bello said.

Also, the benefits of the employees should not be reduced due to the implementation of such work arrangement, he added.

Department Advisory No. 4 Series of 2010 defines the compressed workweek as a flexible work arrangement where the normal workweek is reduced to less than six days, but the total number of work hours per week shall remain.

The normal workday is increased to more than eight hours, but not to exceed 12 hours, without corresponding overtime premium.

The concept can be adjusted accordingly depending on the normal workweek of the company, the advisory further states.

There are a lot of considerations in adopting flexible work arrangements, but Bello said the scheme aims to improve business competitiveness and productivity.

It also aims to give both employers and employees the flexibility in work hours which is compatible with business requirements and the employees’ need for a balanced work-life, he added.

He also said that in case there are complaints, the company and the workers may agree to revert to the previous normal work arrangement./ DOLE release