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Cebu News

NEDA pushes 4-day work week

The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines —  The chief of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) has recommended the implementation of a four-day work week to help the public cut costs on fuel and transport amid the continued increase of oil prices.

During President Duterte's Talk to the People aired Wednesday morning, Socio-economic Planning Secretary Karl Chua suggested four-day work weeks instead of five days to conserve energy and alleviate costs on fuel and transport expenses.

Chua explained that workers would still work 40 hours a week, but instead of an eight-hour work day, 10-hour work days will be implemented. He added that this was already done in the past when oil prices spiked particularly during the 1990's during the Gulf War and the Asian Financial Crisis in 2008.

"Instead of commuting everyday, it will only be four days. It will also help in managing our economy," Chua said in Filipino.

The implementation of a four-day work week was among the recommendations of the NEDA as alternative measures to increasing minimum wages and jeepney fares to address rising fuel prices as the latter would have inflationary impacts.

"There are proposals that have good objectives such as the increase in minimum wage to help workers and the increase in fares for jeepneys and buses. The objectives are good, but we must see if these proposals will be good for our economy," Chua said in Filipino.

The Socio-economic Planning Secretary said that the combined inflationary impact of the jeepney fare and minimum wage hikes may increase inflation by 1.4 percentage points or to around 5.1 percent from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)' projected inflation rate of 3.7 percent for this year.

As an example, Chua explained that an increase of P1.25 to the minimum base fare of jeepneys would have an inflationary impact of 0.4 percentage point. This would bring the projected inflation to 4.1 percent.

Chua further explained that if the P537 minimum wage in the National Capital Region (NCR) is increased by six percent or P39 bringing it to P576, this would have an inflationary impact. Because of the potential inflationary impact of the increase in wages and fares, the NEDA is instead proposing alternative measures.

Among these recommendations, according to Chua is the provision of targeted relief to vulnerable sectors from the higher value added tax (VAT) collections due to the higher fuel prices. — Philippine Star News Service, FPL (FREEMAN)

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