Baguio City – Holy Week popularly known in the Philippines as “Mahal na Araw” or “Semana Santa” is a significant religious observance for the country’s Roman Catholic majority and most Protestant groups. It begins on Palm Sunday and continues on through to Black Saturday. Many communities observe Spanish-influenced Catholic rituals such as processions that have been syncretised with elements of pre-hispanic beliefs. This is evident in some ritual practices not sanctioned by the universal church and the many superstitions associated with the occasion.

During the three-day celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ – Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, some businesses are closed for part or all of the three days. Local television and most radio stations usually go off the air. Those that remain on air (such as stations owned by various denominations) operate on shorter broadcasting hours, and feature seasonal programming such religious films and news coverage of various services and rites (thus, this is the only country in the world to do so). Cable television channels in the Philippines, however, continue to broadcast their normal programming.

People from all walks of life celebrate Holy Week differently, for the different levels of devotion of the Catholic faithful are visible this week, as they reflect on the agony and sacrifice of the Son of God to deliver the world from sin and for others they go on a vacation this Holy Week and have various activities during the long break and for some, they spend the Holy Week break out of town or at the beach to relax and unwind.

Enjoying time with the family is also a way of pulling one’s self from materialism and individualism, which is one of the messages embodied by Holy Week. Parents, whose obligation as Christians is to nurture the spiritual growth of their children, must take the Lenten break as an opportunity to teach their children about faith.

For workers and employees, some flock to their various provinces to celebrate the Holy Week but others continue to work to earn extra income for their families.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) reiterates its call to private sector employers to observe the pay rules and other core labor and occupational safety and health standards during the Holy Week in the interest of workers’ welfare and protection.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III issued Labor Advisory 04 (series of 2018) pursuant to Proclamation 269 issued by President Rodrigo Duterte, affirming Maunday Thursday and Good Friday on March 29 and 30, respectively, as regular holidays, and Black Saturday on March 31 as a special non-working day throughout the country.

For the information of employers and workers, the payment rules for the regular holidays on Maundy Thursday (March 29) and Good Friday (March 30) are as follows: For these holidays, work done during these days shall be paid 200% of an employee’s regular pay for the first eight hours or [(Daily Rate +COLA) x 200%]; while work done in excess of eight hours (overtime), shall be paid an additional 30% of the employee’s hourly rate or [(Hourly Rate of the basic daily wage x 200% x 130% x number of hours worked)].

Meanwhile, work done during these days that also falls on employee’s rest day shall be paid an additional 30% of his/her daily rate of 200% or [(Daily Rate + COLA) x 200%] + [30% (Daily rate x 200%)]; while for work done in excess of eight hours (overtime), shall be paid an additional 30% of his/her hourly rate, or [(Hourly Rate of the basic daily wage x 200% x 130% x 130% x number of hours worked)].

However, if the employee did not report to work during these days, he/she shall still be paid 100% of his/her salary for that day or [(Daily Rate + COLA) x 100%].

The special (non-working days), on the other hand on Black Saturday (March 31): the pay rules for this holiday provide that for work done, an employee shall be paid an additional 30% of his daily rate on the first eight hours or [(Daily Rate x 130%) + COLA]; while for work done in excess of eight hours (overtime), he/she shall be paid an additional 30% of his hourly rate or [(Hourly Rate of the basic daily wage x 130% x 130% x number of hours worked)].

For work done during this day that also fall on employee’s rest day, he/she shall be paid an additional 50% of his/her daily rate on the first eight hours, or [(Daily Rate x 150%) + COLA]; while for work done in excess of eight hours (overtime), he/she shall be paid an additional 30% of his hourly rate, or [(Hourly Rate of the basic daily wage x 150% x 130% x number of hours worked)].

But if the employee did not work, the “ No work, No pay” principle shall apply unless there is a favorable company policy, practice or collective bargaining agreement (CBA) granting payment on special nonworking day.

I think we need to do some deep soul searching about what’s important in our lives and renew our spirit and our spiritual thinking, whether it’s through faith-based religion or just through loving nature or helping your fellow man. Happy Easter to Every Juan and Juana… Easter is meant to be a symbol of hope, renewal, and new life./Patrick T Rillorta