Filipino workers lament Palace declaration of All Souls’ Day as special working day

November 2, 2021 - 3:27 PM
Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Working holiday? It’s not just today.

The Palace is retaining All Souls’ Day, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve as special working holidays next year, which used to be under the non-working category.

President Rodrigo Duterte on October 29 declared November 2, December 24, and December 31 of the year 2022 as special working holidays through Proclamation No. 1236.

These dates used to be classified as special non-working holidays under Proclamation No. 986 (series of 2020).

Regular holidays are occasions that have fixed dates such as New Year’s Day and Christmas Day, excluding the National Heroes Day and the religious holidays of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Eid’l Fitr, and Eidul Adha.

Special non-working holidays, meanwhile, are more flexible and are enacted by Congress. These can also be declared by the judgment of the president.

Duterte’s Proclamation No. 1236 states that “there is a need to encourage economic productivity by, among others, minimizing work disruption and commemorating some special holidays as special (working) days instead.”

This is enacted “for the country to recover from the adverse economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic” which has largely crippled businesses as a result of shifting community quarantines.

In Proclamation No. 986, November 2 and December 24 were declared as additional special non-working holidays with the reason as they will “strengthen family ties by providing more time for the traditional All Saints’ Day, All Souls’ Day, and Christmas Day commemorative activities.”

It also said that the dates, being non-working holidays, were seen as a means to “promote domestic tourism as well.”

Meanwhile, working Filipinos who are used to resting and spending All Souls’ Day as a special non-working holiday before shared their comments as they experience rendering hours of labor this year.

“Tuesday Blues hit different this week knowing today should have been a non-working holiday,” a Twitter user said.

“So sa client meeting namin kanina nakwento ko na supposedly holiday ngayon at sa December 24 at 31 pero dahil nga kay Duts hindi na. Client: Who removes holiday on a pandemic???” another online user wrote.

“Okay lang po bang naka-holiday mode brain cells ko today?” a different Filipino tweeted.

“Alam mo yung sa 27 years of existence ko, sanay ako na holiday yung Nov 2. So parang ayaw mag-function ng utak at katawang lupa ko to work today,” another Twitter user wrote with a smiling face-with-tear emoji.

Last year, Filipinos aired their concerns over missing long-standing family traditions and getting meager benefits when Duterte signed Proclamation No. 1107, making All Souls’ Day, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve as special working holidays.

The change was made to supposedly help the economy recover but some claimed that non-working holidays are more effective since the public is believed to be spending more on days without work.

“Mas makakabangon nga ang ekonomiya kapag may holiday kasi ‘yung economic indicators natin is driven by personal consumptions. Gumagastos ang mga tao kapag naka-holiday,” a Twitter user wrote before.

ALSO READ: From holidays to special working days: How 2021 holidays amendment will affect Filipino workers

There is no premium pay to employees who report to duty on a special working holiday, according to the labor department. They are only paid their basic rate as the work performed during this day is considered work on ordinary working days.

“For the declared special working holiday on November 2, the labor advisory states that should a worker report for duty, the employee is entitled to receive only his/her daily wage and no premium is required since it is considered an ordinary working day,” the Department of Labor and Employment said.

On the other hand, the “no work, no pay” principle is observed during a special non-working holiday, unless the company has a policy granting payment on a special day. Employees who render hours, however, are given an additional 30% of their basic wage on the first eight hours of duty.