Juxtaposed: ‘Flexi work’ for government while RTO for private, BPO workers

June 8, 2022 - 9:10 PM
Computer user
Stock photo of a person using a computer. (Pixabay/user hitesh0141)

Government employees may soon experience a four-day work week setup provided that each government agency will implement it.

The Civil Service Commission’s approval of this work arrangement in the government sector was picked up by mainstream media outlets on Monday, June 6.

It also came in time as some private businesses, including the business processing outsourcing industry, are starting to require their employees to return to their offices.

What is CSC’s ‘flexi-work’?

Under the CSC resolution no. 2200209, government officials and employees may work or render their services outside their offices for a 40-hour compressed work schedule.

This work schedule is compressed into four days or less instead of the traditional five-day work week.

Some social media users expressed favorable views about this decision.

“Flexi-place ang mas ideal option for government employees, lalo na sa malalayo ang inuuwian. Malaki ang matitipid sa resources, time, money, energy,” one user said.

Such work arrangements, however, are still subject to the discretion of the heads of government agencies, according to the commission.

“The CSC emphasizes that flexible work arrangements are subject to the discretion of the head of agency on the condition that all their stakeholders are assured of continuous delivery of services from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM,” CSC said in a statement.

The CSC said that it approved this policy to help public workers transition to the so-called new normal amid the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“It serves as a preventive measure to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of government officials and employees while ensuring the government’s continued operations and efficient delivery of public services,” it said.

The CSC also pointed out that this setup is in line with the provisions of the Republic Act 11165 or the Telecommuting Act of the Philippines.

Some Filipinos in the private sector, meanwhile, could only react with wishful comments on Facebook.

“Sana pati sa mga private companies,” one user said.

“Haha for sana all nalang tayong nasa private companies,” another user commented.

Some employers and the government have started to mull the return of onsite work since last March, amid the implementation of COVID-19 Alert Level 1 in most areas of the country.

Private employees have opposed complete return-to-office arrangements and mandates. They cited transport and health concerns in arguing for remote work.

RELATED: Telecommuting Act gains buzz online amid talks about return to onsite work 

“They did not understand how important WFH is most especially with our current transport system,” one social media user said, referring to frequent traffic jams and inconvenient public transportation options.

The BPO industry  

Workers from the information technology-business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry have also already returned to their workplaces following a government order last April 1.

Based on reports, the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB), the government body tasked to grant tax incentives to these firms, denied their appeal to extend their work-from-home arrangements.

Following the widespread opposition to this, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) later offered a 70-30 hybrid work scheme to registered IT-BPO firms and registered business enterprises (RBEs).

These entities have to submit to them a Letter of Authority (LOA) and other requirements to avail of the benefits of the hybrid operations.

This setup will be allowed until September 12.