At a recent Senate hearing in the Philippines, ECOP legal service manager Robert Maronilla said workers are already being granted several local and national non-working holidays, paid leaves, and even intermittent work suspensions due to typhoons and other natural calamities.
He added that the country already has one of the highest numbers of non-national working days in the ASEAN region. In addition, other paid leaves are provided for by existing laws such as solo-parent leave, maternity leave, paternity leave and gynecological leave.
Businesses, especially SMEs, are already incurring losses due to the pandemic. As such, any further reduction of working days through additional leaves would have a critical impact on productivity and the cost of doing business, mentions Maronilla.
Under bills passed by the lower chamber last year, employees who have rendered service of at least one year will be entitled to a service incentive leave of 10 days with pay, up from the current five days under the Labour Code. Those who already have at least 10 days of vacation leave will not benefit from the proposed change.
Labour groups have argued that the current five days of service incentive leave is insufficient. Federation of Free Workers president Sonny Matula said this is especially so for employees not represented by unions, while the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines believes having more service incentive leave days would ensure workers’ health and safety, and even increase productivity.
Senator Joel Villanueva, chairman of the committee on labour, said policymakers will weigh these opposing views and try to find a balance, according to CNN Philippines.