MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles® ) – In the Philippines — a predominantly Catholic country — the Pope’s word is treated as law, even when it comes to political, economic and social matters. Like work hours.
Pope Francis told the faithful at his weekly general audience at the Vatican that “millions of men and women, even children, are slaves to work,” and that this “is against God and against the dignity of the human person.”
“Moments of rest, he said,”give people time to enjoy the fruits of their labor.”
Heeding the pope’s advice, a bipartisan group of Philippine legislators proposed that the country adopt a three-day work week for all employees, so that they would have more time to rest and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
The draft bill mandates that although workers will be required to report for work just three days each week, they will be paid the equivalent of five days of work.
If passed by Congress, President NoyNoy Aquino, a devout Catholic, promised to sign the proposed bill into law.
Labor unions praised the proposal, but companies operating call centers are strongly against it, saying they will lose huge contracts from foreign companies that expect the centers to be staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Senator Nancy Binay has introduced an amendment which would exempt call centers from the proposed three-day work week. Binay’s amendment would also grant a similar exemption for workers in vital services such as doctors & nurses, police officers and firefighters.
Political analysts are saying that a three-day work week –if staggered — could finally solve the country’s nagging traffic problems since it would cut by almost half the number of employees trying to get to work in any given day of the week.