Bill to protect workers’ rest hours proposed in the Philippines

The proposed bill will penalise employers who intrude on workers' "rest hours" and to prevent tasks and meetings from encroaching on personal time.
By: | January 21, 2022

In filing the bill, Sen. Francis Tolentino said that remote work arrangements have helped work to continue amid precautions against the pandemic.

However, he said technology and the internet have made workers “virtually always at the beck and call of their employers” even beyond official work hours. “The power of control of employers now overreaches beyond working hours through the use of phone and email.”

“While we recognise the benefits of work-from-home and telecommuting arrangements, they have thinned the line between work and personal space and time,” Tolentino said.

As such, the bill seeks to protect workers’ rest hours, which are defined as any period other than the hours of work rendered by the employee. Under labour laws, normal work hours must not exceed eight hours a day.

Under the bill, an employee should not be forced to deliver overtime work, unless allowed by labour laws, or unless they give their written consent.

If passed into law, the bill will cover workers in “all establishments and undertakings whether for profit or not”. It does not cover, however, field personnel, domestic helpers, output-based workers, and those in the personal service of another.

Employers who violate the “Workers Rest Law” are required to pay affected workers P1,000 (US$19.4) each per hour of work rendered during the prescribed rest hours.

READ: Employers urged to grant paid quarantine leave in the Philippines

In addition, employers who discriminate against employees who choose to assert their rights under the act will face a prison sentence of not less than one month but not more than six months, and pay a fine of over P100,000 (US$1,941), according to Philstar Global.