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Extra pay sought for teachers for days added to academic calendar
A public school teacher records a lesson for her class under DepEd's distance learning this school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The STAR/Michael Varcas

Extra pay sought for teachers for days added to academic calendar

(Philstar.com) - April 15, 2021 - 3:00pm

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 6:54 p.m.) — Teachers should be compensated for the extra 77 days they will have to render with the present school year extended to July, a lawmaker said Thursday. 

The Department of Education announced the additional class days last month, saying this was to address "an identified need to address learning gaps" in distance learning during the pandemic.

Teachers have said they should be paid for the extra days they will have to work. Rep. France Castro (ACT-Teachers party-list) said she wrote to DepEd about it but has yet to get a response. 

"Our public school teachers would have been working for almost 13 months without an official summer break or vacation," she said in a statement. "[They] do not have sick and vacation benefits unlike other employees in the public and private sectors."

The lawmaker cited memorandum circulars from the Civil Service Commission which state that public school teachers are entitled to a Proportional Vacation Pay (PVP), as well as service credit for days they are required to work apart from regular workdays.

"Teachers should be given fair compensation for their hours of service especially with the lack of [an] actual break," Castro said, adding that the eight-hour workday is not followed even in work-from-home setups. "There is no actual academic ease for teachers due to the numerous paperwork and additional tasks that the modular approach requires from them."

DepEd: Teachers have two months paid vacation

Sought for comment, Education Undersecretary for Finance Anne Sevilla said there is a "customized policy" when it comes to overtime pay of teachers' extended hours. She said teachers are covered by the PVP that is issued by DepEd, the CSC and the Department of Budget and Management.

"Basically, it means that any excess in teaching load should be related to PVP policy because they have two months paid vacation (usually summer from April to May, depending on school calendar)," Sevilla said in an exchange. 

Education Undersecretary for Human Resource Jesus Mateo, whom Sevilla said would know more about the matter, has yet to respond to a request for comment.

Castro said difficulties under distance learning which pushed through amid the pandemic has taken a toll on teachers' mental and physical health. She urged the agency to "heed the demands of its stakeholders, the education frontliners."

"The Duterte administration, through the Department of Education must ensure the welfare of our educators, especially now that the health and economic crisis continue to worsen due to the failed government response to the pandemic," she said. "Giving priority to teachers' welfare also shows how the government prioritizes education continuity and the youth's right to quality education."

ALLIANCE OF CONCERNED TEACHERS DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION DISTANCE LEARNING FILIPINO TEACHERS FRANCE CASTRO NOVEL CORONAVIRUS
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