Last Tuesday, fuel prices received a massive increase of PHP 7.10 for gasoline and PHP 13.15 for diesel. The result makes diesel fuel more expensive than gasoline in most filling stations in the country. With pump prices averaging between PHP 75 to over PHP 80 per liter in Metro Manila, motorists are struggling to keep up, even more so those living outside the metro.

Seeing this issue, the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), together with the Department of Energy (DOE) proposed to shorten the workweek to just 4-days. According to both government agencies, the compressed workweek is aimed to conserve oil consumption amid the non-stop oil price hike.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua of NEDA mentioned that every Filipino will continue working 40 hours per week. However, the working hours will be extended due to the compressed working days.

NEDA, DOE suggest 4-day work week amid rising fuel costs image

“Magtatrabaho pa rin po ang bawat Pilipino ng 40 hours per week pero imbes na sa limang araw ay apat na araw, pero imbes na walong oras kada araw, magiging sampung oras kada araw. Ang epekto po nito ay makakatipid din. Imbes na araw-araw nagko-commute ay magiging apat na araw, at ito ay makakatulong din sa pag-manage ng ekonomiya natin,” said Chua.

[Filipinos will still work for 40 hours per week. But instead of working for eight hours, they have to render 10 hours of work per day. The effect is we can save money. Workers only need to commute for four days, and this will help us manage the economy]

Energy Dept. Secretary Alfonso Cusi also supported the proposed 4-day work week in order for motorists to save on fuel, avoid work-related expenses, and not have to commute to and from work amid the continued rise of oil prices.

“We also support ‘yong panukala na four-day work week at palawigin natin ang work-from-home at maiwasan ang pagbiyahe ng ating mga mamamayan,” added Cusi.

[We also support the proposal for a four-day workweek and the extension of work-from-home set up for the public to avoid traveling]

NEDA, DOE suggest 4-day work week amid rising fuel costs image

With the proposed 4-day work week aimed at the government and public sectors, what about those that are working in the private sector? According to the Department of Labor & Employment (DOLE), the enforcement of either flexible working arrangements or the 4-day workweek is up to the discretion of employers.

“In the four-day workweek proposal, there is no need for a new law or Department Order. We have issued a Labor advisory on flexible work arrangements. The four-day workweek is a flexible work arrangement,” said Labor Undersecretary Benjo Benavidez.

Since there is still no clear timeline as to when oil price hikes will stop, perhaps the 4-day work week might provide some relief to motorists and workers. But with pump prices reportedly set to get a huge rollback next week, will work arrangement still be a viable option?

Let us know in the comments.