Know Your Employment Rights 2: Working Hours

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image courtesy of harpermacleod.co.uk

image courtesy of harpermacleod.co.uk

A lot of employees would normally ask about the number of hours they are allowed to work as mandated by law. The working hours depends on the industry and type of employment one has. For example, a casual fast-food worker can render four hours of duty a day as the manager deem fit for operations. Most of the working class follow an eight-hour work period. This does not include a mandatory one hour break which will not be considered as part the working hours. Many refer to this one-hour break as lunch period.

The breaks provided differ from every company, it is best to check your contract as to how your breaks are allocated. Traditionally, lunch breaks are taken after the first four hours of work. Some companies provide two fifteen-minute breaks, depending on how their operation schedule would allow. It is important to note that any amount of permissible short rests shall be counted as hours worked, as such, they are paid. (Article 84 of the Labor Code)

Defining Working Hours

To simply the term, the amount of time spent where an employee is required to be on duty in a place designated by an employer is the hours of work.  This, therefore, means that travel time cannot be considered as part of your working hours unless formally specified by the company.

An employee can only extend his eight-hour work period if compensated accordingly. As stipulated in Article 87, an additional compensation equivalent to his regular wage plus at least twenty-five percent of the salary must be remunerated. There are some companies that will consider overtime down to the last minute, there are others where extra periods less than an hour is not considered as overtime. Always document your rendered overtime as this is critical to your compensation.

Working for less than the required period is considered undertime. Note that any undertime work cannot be offset by overtime work rendered on any other day. For example, if you went home early on Monday and reported for work for only four hours, then you rendered four hours of overtime the following day to make up for it, this will not cover the undertime period. You will, however, be compensated accordingly with your overtime plus the 25% as earlier mentioned.

Every employer has the right to call for an emergency overtime work as it deems appropriate. They can also ask for employees to render overtime work on their rest days. Here are some of the situations where employers can demand such:

  • When the country is at war of when there is a national or local emergency declared by the National Assembly of the President.
  • When there is imminent danger such as natural calamities and your duty is critical to prevent loss of life.
  • To prevent serious loss or damage to company equipment and machinery that you are directly responsible for.
  • When handling perishable materials or goods and your duty is critical in preventing loss or damage.
  • As the employer resolves as practical to avoid grave obstruction in operations.

Rest Days

Every employee has the right to enjoy a complete twenty-four hour rest period for every six days of work. You might be wondering but traditionally, two days are given to employees as rest days for every working week. Most members of the workforce enjoy this benefit every weekend. It is the prerogative of the company to impose the number of restdays it will allow.

There are also schedule schemes especially in the IT-BPM industry wherein employees work 4 by 10 – which means they work ten hours a day (exclusive of the lunch break) but are given three rest days in a week.

Holiday and Restday Pay

Expect an additional 30% of your regular wage for every day you render work on a rest day or a holiday. If your restday falls on a holiday and you are required to report for work, the additional compensation should not be less than 50%. Some companies, however, classify holidays to regular holidays and special non-working holidays. In a nutshell, regular holidays are those that are permanently marked on the calendar and are observed annually. They provide 30% additional pay for services rendered on a special non-working holiday and 100% during regular holidays.

 

Make sure to scrutinize your contract, understand every provided provision before affixing your signature. The conditions and terms provided under the labor law are but basic guidelines and can be modified accordingly by the employer – which most of the time is amended favorably.