Visayas, Soccsksargen tourism sectors adopt flexible working hours to save jobs

Toyota
Soccsksargen tourism
Tourism-related establishments have already started adopting flexible work arrangements. Photo of tourism workers welcoming the arrival of tourists. Courtesy of Visit Central Visayas.

Tourism sector establishments in Western Visayas, Central Visayas, and Soccsksargen regions have adopted flexible work arrangements as remedial measures to the impact of the ongoing outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The lower tourist arrivals and movements in the country led the 35 tourism-related establishments involving 3,255 workers to resort to a flexible work scheme, revealed Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) OIC-Assistant Secretary Dominique Tutay in a press briefing on March 3, 2020.

Tutay then made an for others to adopt similar schemes amid reports that thousands of workers in the tourism sector particularly in travel agencies, airlines, hotels and restaurants are affected by the travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 outbreak worldwide, than to outright termination of the services of employees and to prevent establishments from closing.

“Not so much on the displacement but the adoption of flexible work arrangement in the tourism sector,” said DOLE official said in her appeal.

In the same press briefing, DOLE Undersecretary Ana Dione affirmed the better alternative of flexible work arrangements than the outright termination of the services of the employees or the total closure of the establishment.

“The labor department calls on employers to adopt flexible work arrangements as an alternative measure to save jobs. Instead of totally closing their businesses, we encourage them to adopt schemes such as reduced workdays, rotation, and adjusted working hours,” the senior labor official said.

DOLE released Labor Advisory No. 09-20 with recommendations and guidelines on the implementation of flexible work arrangements as the remedial measures due to the ongoing outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19):

  1. Reduction of work hours and/or workdays – refers to lessened regular hours or days rendered
  2. Rotation of workers – refers to alternating employees who are given work
  3. Forced leave – refers to requiring employees to use their leave credits or go on leave for a period
  4. The employer shall notify the Department the Regional/Provincial/Field Office which has jurisdiction over the workplace of the adoption of any of the above flexible work arrangements

Some 500 workers from Sultan Kudarat disasters were earlier given emergency employment after disaster struck their area while senior citizens have been welcomed to work in Philippine state universities.

The DOLE also passed in February its Department Order No. 208 which enforces Republic Act 11036, or the Mental Health Act, in the workplace.

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