By Myrna Velasco
Before the arrival of the so-called “ber” months which normally ushers in heavy traffic in Metro Manila, the Department of Energy (DOE) has announced that it will be enforcing a four-day workweek scheme at the agency starting in August.
A Department Order issued by Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi has stipulated that the four-day workweek will apply to the rank-and-file employees of the department, but those in the leadership posts level will continue to adhere to the five-day workweek.
As explained, the department’ s four-day workweek “is an alternative arrangement whereby the normal workweek is reduced to four days, but the number of work hours per day is increased to 10 hours instead of eight hours, so that the total number of work hours per week remains at 40 hours.”
The department specified that “the schedule of the DOE modified four-day workweek shall be either Monday to Thursday; or Tuesday to Friday.” It is targeted to be enforced from August 1 to December 31 this year.
The DOE further emphasized that “the modified four-day workweek scheme will be implemented alongside the five-day workweek.”
It qualified that such change in work paradigm for the agency “is in response to the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila as conveyed by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority brought about by the major infrastructure projects of the Department of Transportation.”
The shortened workdays, it expounded, could be availed of by permanent and coterminous DOE employees, “except for the members of the management committee who hold positions with salary grades 27 and above.” The department’s drivers and chauffeurs are also required to be in the five-day workweek schedule.
As further noted, the fixed office hours for the four-day work week shall be from 7:30am to 6:00pm; inclusive of just a 30-minute lunch break.
For those with approved authority to render overtime work, the DOE emphasized that such could still be done during their day-off; which could either be on a Monday or Friday.
The energy chief instructed that “interested qualified DOE employees shall choose one preferred schedule,” and that the employee shall fill-out an application form and seek approval from the division chief or director of the office he or she has been serving.
“Once the preferred schedule is chosen, an employee can no longer change his or her preferred schedule while the modified four-day workweek scheme is being implemented,” the energy department stressed.
And to ensure that there is sufficient manpower in the various divisions or bureaus of the agency, it has been decreed that “all division heads shall be accountable in ensuring that at least 50-percent of their manpower will report to work on Mondays and Fridays – constituting an adequate workforce which will ensure that all services of the division/unit/office are effectively rendered during those days.”