4-day work week, staggered working hours among options for gov’t employees under ‘new normal’

Marje Pelayo   •   May 12, 2020   •   1125

MANILA, Philippines — Government agencies and offices may implement four work arrangements beginning May 16, 2020.

This is based on the revised interim guidelines issued by the Civil Service Commission (CSC).

A government employee can return to work under one of the following work arrangements:

  • Work-from-home
  • Skeleton workforce
  • Four-day workweek 
  • Staggered working hours.

Workers below 21-years-old and senior citizens are automatically part of the work-from-home arrangement.

Meanwhile, setting a skeleton workforce limits the number of workers in the office or workplace.

These employees, however, are entitled to hazard and overtime pay including other allowances.

Likewise, a 4-day work week may be advantageous to some while others may opt for shifting schedules which best fit staggered working hours.

These options also include limiting the number of workers in a work area.

Offices must also see to it that vehicles are disinfected.

A health status survey and a revision of workplace layout for the implementation of physical distancing must be done.

It is a must for employees and officials who enter the government office premises to wear face masks, and submit to temperature checks.

Finally, every workplace should make sanitation stations available for use, according to the CSC. MNP (with details from Rey Pelayo)

Supreme Court to implement 4-day work week starting Dec. 1

Robie de Guzman   •   November 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court will adopt a four-day work week scheme for all its officials and employees starting December 1.

In an administrative circular issued by Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta, high court employees will work 10 hours a day or from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. to complete the required 40 hours of work each week.

The justices will decide the operations schedule of their offices but all other high court offices and services will still be open from Mondays to Fridays with at least 80% personnel attendance.

The total number of employees in court offices will be divided into five groups, each comprising 20% of the total number of workers. Alternately, they will have to take one day leave during weekdays.

“Subject to the discretion of the Chiefs of Offices and services, the groupings, new work schedules and supposed rest day/day off may be changed or modified, upon prior notice to the employees,” the circular stated.

The practice of flexible time and overtime work for employees will be cancelled for the time being.

Peralta said the observance of a four-day work week is in line with the directive of the Civil Service Commission in October for implementation during the period of health emergency due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The Chief Justice also required the heads of the Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, Court of Tax Appeals, and all trial courts to prepare their guidelines for the workweek schedule.

CSC eyes sub-professional eligibility for non-plantilla government employees

Marje Pelayo   •   September 28, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Civil Service Commission (CSC) is pushing to award sub-professional eligibility to non-plantilla employees in the government.

During last week’s hearing with the House Committee on Appropriations, Ombudsman Samuel Martires opened up about the status of some of the agency’s employees who remain under job order or contractual status despite many years of service in the government.

“Whoever thought of hiring job order employees in the Office of the Ombudsman is heartless,” he said, adding that these employees couldn’t get a regular position as they are unable to pass the civil service eligibility exam.

“Kasi sa ngayon, pahirap ng pahirap ang exam sa civil service. Hinamon nga ako ng isang kaibigan ko sabi niya, kung gusto mong subukan, kumuha ka. Baka mapahiya ka, bumagsak ka,” he said.

(Translation: Civil service examinations nowadays are getting harder and harder. A friend even dared me, saying, “If you want, you could try taking the exam. You might embarrass yourself if you fail.”)

Martires asked the lawmakers to pass a law that will grant long-serving employees eligibility based on the number of years in service.

“Baka naman pwedeng bigyan ng testimonial eligibility na katulad noong araw (Maybe they could be given testimonial eligibility like in the old days),” he said.

“Para maiwasan na natin ang, termino ko dyan, ‘pang-aapi’ (To prevent what I call “oppression” in government service), he added.

But according to CSC Commissioner Aileen Lizada, it will take years before such a law is passed.

She said she has sent a letter to the CSC chairman to act on the matter.

One solution, she said, is to give a sub-professional eligibility to those employees who have spent so many years in public service and whose performance can be credited.

“The one that I am proposing is the sub-professional eligibility, hindi professional agad kundi sub professional (not a professional eligibility right away), para (so that) at least give them a fighting chance to enter,” Lizada noted.

“Once may eligibility ka na, (Once you have eligibility) you now have a fighting chance to apply for a position. Kapag nakapasok ka na, plantilla ka na — regular ka na. So whatever it is na tinatanggap ng plantilla at ng regular meron ka na (Once you’re in, you’re officially a plantilia or regular employee. So whatever the plantilia or regular workers are receiving, you will receive the same),” she added.

Currently, there are about 600,000 employees who are under job orders and contract of service status in different government agencies but there are about 240,000 to 260,000 vacant positions.

Some of these job orders (JO) and contract of service (COS) employees work beyond what their job description requires.

The CSC, meanwhile, is looking into ways on how to increase the passing rate of CSC eligibility examinations. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)

CSC Chair Bala denies ‘suppressing’ information on cases filed vs. PhilHealth officials

Marje Pelayo   •   August 26, 2020

Civil Service Commission Chairperson Alicia dela Rosa-Bala

MANILA, Philippines — A statement from the office of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) on Tuesday evening (August 25) countered the allegation that CSC Chairperson Alicia dela Rosa-Bala ordered the withholding of any information about the cases filed against officials of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

During the  congressional hearing on Tuesday, CSC Commissioner Aileen Lizada revealed to the panel that there was guidance from Bala to keep said information from being made public.

The CSC statement said such a claim is “patently false and misleading.”

“As a matter of protocol, CSC Chairperson Bala observes the sub judice rule (restricts comments and disclosures pertaining to judicial proceedings to avoid prejudging the issue, influencing the court, or obstructing the administration of justice)[i] especially with cases pending adjudication with the Commission,” the statement further read.

It defended Bala saying she “would never ask any CSC official or employee to “suppress” the sharing of information that could otherwise be legally shared, more so before the House of Representatives Committee on Good Governance and Public Accountability.”

The lawmakers moved to summon Bala to the next hearing scheduled on Thursday.

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