Compressed Work Week: Can It Improve Work-Life Balance In The Philippines?

The House Committee on Labor and Employment has approved the bill that allows companies in the country to implement a four-day work week! But, here’s the catch — it means more working hours in a day.

Baguio Representative Mark Go authored this bill which is called “the compressed work week” bill. It aims to lessen the working days of employees; but in order to comply with the 40 to 48 working hours requirement of the country’s Labor Code, it will increase the daily working hours of the employees.

For your information
This policy is optional for employers. They can implement it if they deem it necessary, otherwise they don’t have to.

Will it improve your quality of life?

The reason why this bill was proposed is to provide an extra day-off to every employee in the country, giving them an extra day to unwind or do what they need to do. While not everyone agrees to this, there are advantages that people could reap from it such as:

1. Less time on the road

There’s no denying that commuting in Metro Manila isn’t a pleasant experience. The horrendous traffic could stretch a supposedly 15-minute travel time to an hour or more. For people who live quite far from their office, it’s worse.

By cutting the workweek from five to four days, it would mean less hours spent on commute. Working more hours a day will also mean employees will skip the usual rush hours, which are extremely crucial and stressful periods of the day.

One way or the other, it could improve a person’s (especially the commuters’) quality of life, because according to a study done by the Office for National Statistics in UK, commuters have higher anxiety levels than the average.

For your information
On the average, majority of workers in Manila who commute spends about 3.5 hours on the  road a day, traveling to and from work (according to  CNN). Multiply that to five days, you’ll be spending 17 hours and 30 minutes on the road just for a week!

2. More days to unwind

With less work days, there will be a more defined work-life balance because the number of days off people will get compared to their working days is almost the same. People could pursue leisure activities and spare more time with their friends and family, pushing further the work-life balance agenda that many companies have been echoing.

3. Maximize working days

Admit it, there are times you end up working longer than you should just to get a task done within the day, but you don’t get paid for it. If you work in an executive or managerial position, overtime will not be paid.

With the compressed work week bill, common office practices like this will be minimized if not eliminated because those who work on longer hours without overtime pay will now be compensated. People who has made it a habit of going home late from work (because 8 hours doesn’t seem to be enough to squeeze in their daily tasks) will have already have extra (paid) hours in their hand.

How can it affect your finances?

From saving more money dedicated to your monthly allowance to getting an extra job to earn more, a compressed work week will have an impact to your finances!

1. Lesser expenses

One of the most prominent advantages of a compressed work week (aside from an extra day to yourself) is lesser moving expenses! In a month, there are four work weeks on average, that means there will also be four extra days off from work! That’s 20% of your monthly budget for your day-to-day moving expenses and allowance!

2. Commuting cost

Commuting don’t just take up most of our time, but they also burn a hole in our wallets! The 4-day workweek structure will one way or the other save commuters a few hundred peso per month!

Mode of transport & two-way fare Rate for two-way fare Monthly cost for four-day work week Monthly cost for five-day work week Monthly savings
Jeepney ?40 ?640 ?800 ?160
MRT ?40 ?640 ?800 ?160
Taxi/Uber/Grab ?300 ?4800 ?6000 ?1200

Source: numbeo.com
Fare estimates are based on the average cost.

Less working days means less time on the road! Not only will you save yourself from the stress of the awful bumper-to-bumper traffic, but you’ll also spare yourself a few hundred pesos a month, which you can allocate to your savings or to your bills!

3. Cost on food

Whether you eat out or “bring your own baon,” setting aside a budget for your lunch or dinner is a must if you’re a working professional. By bringing down the work days to just four a week, you will feel a difference in your monthly budget.

Cost Monthly cost for four-day work week Monthly cost for five-days work week Monthly savings
Lunch ?150 ?2400 ?3000 ?600
Dinner ?150 ?2400 ?3000 ?600

Source: numbeo.com
Prices mentioned are are based on the average cost.
If you eat out a lot during working days for lunch and dinner, you’ll save up to 800 if you just work four days a week! Of course, this is assuming that on your extra off day, you eat your meals at home instead of dining out.

4. Side hustle for more cash

It will be easier to find a side job because you’ll have more time to do it. Employees who are also entrepreneur on the side can have more time to run their part-time business, freelancers will have an extra day to complete their freelance tasks! Either way, there are more earning opportunities for people who are looking for extra income.

5. Save leave credits for more important events

One of the best things about the Philippine’s Labor Code is that employers are required to convert unused leave credits of employees to cash on the next calendar year or when they (the employees) separate from the company.

Having a three days off in a week will give employees more time to accomplish personal transactions or maybe go on a quick vacation. Imagine, every weekend is a long weekend! Thus, the unnecessary use of (vacation) leave credits will be minimized.

Below is a sample computation of the monetary equivalent of your leave conversion in one year.

Monthly income: P20,000Leave credits: 12 a year

Formula:(Monthly salary x 12 / 365 days) number of leave credit left

=(P20,000x 12 / 365) 12

=(P240,000/ 365) 12

=( P657.534) 12

= P7,890.41

Source: hrpractitionersguide.com

People who don’t take long vacations will have more cash conversions from their leave credits annually!

What are the downsides?

While having a three-day weekend may seem like a dream come true, there are some consequences that may come with it.

1. Child care can be difficult

A compressed work week may free up an extra day for parents to spend with their kids but it can also make them struggle in matching their schedule with their child’s day care needs and activities at school. There will be less flexibility in matching their schedules with their child’s daily routine at home and in school the entirety of the child’s school days. Parent who normally pick up their kids at 4 or 5pm will not be able to do so with a 12-hour shift, which will be a huge problem especially for solo parents..

2. Not meant for certain jobs

For employees who do physically straining jobs, four more hours in their work load per day can take a toll on them. For many call center agents, additional four more hours can be physically and emotionally draining. While 12 hours of work may increase overall output or productivity of a company and could provide long breaks for employees, it can however put its people’s health at risk.

So, is it good or bad?

The Compressed Work Week Bill has its pros and cons. There are people and job industries that can reap its benefits, while there are those that will not. The good thing about this is it’s optional. At least, it’s already out there in the open and companies no longer need to hesitate if they think implementing a compressed work week schedule will boost their productivity and employee satisfaction.

The retail industry and BPO companies (catering to all time zones in the US) can greatly benefit from this scheduling system. Meanwhile, banks and government agencies are among those who are less likely to reap productivity from it.

What would be much better news though is, if decision is up to the employees.

What are your thoughts on this? Leave a comment below!

About marcpadz

A content creator for iMoney Philippines. Currently based in Malaysia, but creates contents for the people of his motherland.
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