4-day work week in Metro Manila pushed
4-day work week in Metro Manila pushed
Mayen Jaymalin (The Philippine Star) - August 23, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The government should consider implementing a four-day work week to help solve the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila, a lawyer said yesterday.

Romulo Macalintal said the administration has not offered any solution to address traffic woes in the metropolis.

“Under this scheme, there will be one day off from work per week on a staggered basis in various cities in Metro Manila,” Macalintal said.

A combination of the cities in the alternating arrangement of four-day work week will depend on the number of population or traffic condition in the area as may be determined and recommended by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, Macalintal proposed.

He said the staggered system of implementing a four-day work week would help ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila, considering the substantial number of private vehicles that will be off the roads.

“This will also result in additional trips for taxi, bus and jeepney drivers thereby increasing their daily income. Employees will save a lot from their additional day-off in terms of transportation expenses, food and clothing,” he said.

To compensate for the eight hours’ loss, Macalintal said the working hours of the offices or companies may be adjusted accordingly to comply with the required 40-hour work per week.

Macalintal urged schools and other educational institutions to support the scheme by adjusting the class schedules of the students and faculty members.

Health risks

Health experts warned that traffic, although not fatal, poses health risks and can affect a person’s productivity.

Commuters are exposed to diseases with the daily monstrous traffic jams in the metropolis, according to the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP).

 “Traffic causes stress that can lead to headache, acid peptic disease, high blood pressure and chronic fatigue syndrome,” PCP official Anthony Leachon said.

Leachon said commuters face risks of chronic lung diseases such as cough and shortness of breath.

“These may lead to loss of productivity and frequent absenteeism at work,” he said.

Commuters and motorists encounter heavy traffic daily due to several road construction projects and the lack of an efficient mass transportation system in Metro Manila.

Earlier, Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said the public should not worry because traffic is not fatal.

Health Secretary Janette Garin admitted that they have been receiving complaints from ambulance service providers about the heavy traffic in the metropolis.

“Definitely it has an effect on ambulance services. Although the ambulance has a wang-wang (siren), we’ve been told that there are those who do not give way,” Garin said.

She said that ambulance health workers are aware of how to cope with traffic jams in transporting patients.

For her part, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said they have not received any complaint from companies about adverse effects of traffic among workers.

“Some just leave their homes early so they can get to work on time,” Baldoz said.

Baldoz noted that several companies are adopting flexible work schedules to cope with the traffic situation.

Baldoz said flexible work schedules could be only adopted with an agreement between the employer and the workers.

ACIRC ANTHONY LEACHON BALDOZ HEALTH SECRETARY JANETTE GARIN LABOR SECRETARY ROSALINDA BALDOZ MACALINTAL METRO MANILA METROPOLITAN MANILA DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY PHILIPPINE COLLEGE OF PHYSICIANS TRAFFIC WORK
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