While many are preparing for the Noche Buena feast, Filipino workers have to grind instead of immediately enjoying the holidays as Malacañang had declared December 24 as a special working holiday.
Through Proclamation 1107 signed on February 26, President Rodrigo Duterte removed the traditional holiday relief for workers on Christmas Eve, All Soul’s Day and New Year’s Eve.
“For the country to recover from the adverse economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a need to encourage economic productivity by, among others, minimizing work disruption and commemorating some special holidays as special working days instead,” the document reads.
Filipino workers turned to social media to express their dismay as they spent the day working right before Christmas.
“It’s Christmas Eve and a special working holiday here in the [Philippines] but I’ll probably just stare at my monitor the entire day,” a Twitter user lamented.
“Yes, our usual Christmas and New Year’s Eve errands were ruined after it was declared a special working day!’’ an online user tweeted.
“Pauso na special working day ang 24th, nagle-labor na si Mama Mary nagtra-trabaho pa rin tayo without double pay,” a user said in a jest on Twitter with a weary face emoji.
“It’s Christmas Eve, but today’s a special working day yet I didn’t file for vacation leave. Good thing I am still in [work-from-home] setup but *sighs*,“ an online user tweeted.
“Good morning to everyone except to those who are responsible for making today a special working day. Sana hindi masarap handa niyo,” a Twitter user wrote.
Apart from concerns about working on a holiday, an online user raised concern about the absence of premium pay for workers during Christmas Eve this time around.
“You know what’s not good about working on Dec 24? noon, para sa mga mimimum wager, double pay pa pa pag pumasok ka ng 24, tapos mas malaki pag pumasok ka pa ng 24 on a weekend, pero dahil dineclare ni Duterte na ordinary day ang 24 wala, no special increase siya,” the Twitter user said.
The Department of Labor and Employment said there is no additional pay required for work rendered on special working holidays since these are considered ordinary working days. Employees are only entitled to basic compensation.
A special non-working holiday, on the other hand, applies the “no work, no pay” policy. However, under the Labor Code, employees who reported to work are given 30% of their basic wage on the first eight hours of work.
Last November 2, All Souls’ Day, Filipino workers likewise lamented the special working day declaration, citing meager pay and missing the family traditions of visiting their deceased loved ones.