4-day work week to ease traffic, says proponent

Posted at 07/09/13 3:23 PM

MANILA - Lawyer Romulo Macalintal has asked President Benigno Aquino III and the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) to consider a four-day work week in some departments and offices, initially in Metro Manila.

He said the scheme will result in billions of savings, besides the easing of traffic.

“The adoption of this suggestion, coupled with the strict implementation of the number-coding traffic rules, will mean billions of savings a year which, in 2008 was expected by the [Department of Budget and Management] to reach as high as P18 billion a year under the proposed four-day work week,” he said.

He suggested the scheme, which will first be experimented in Metro Manila, will allow a one-day off from work. It shall be made on a staggered system or implemented alternatively in the various areas in Metro Manila.

“For instance, offices in Quezon City and Manila will have no work on Mondays; Pasay City and Caloocan City will have no work on Tuesdays; Mandaluyong City, Muntinglupa City and Las Pinas City on Wednesdays; San Juan City and Makati City on Thursday, and so on and so forth. The combination of the cities or areas in the alternating arrangement of one-day work day off will depend on the number of population or traffic condition therein as may be determined and recommended by the Metro Manila Development Authority,” he said.

He said the benefit of this scheme was seen during the feasts in Manila and San Juan. “I am sure everybody felt the light traffic [across Manila] on that day because of the holidays in these two big cities.”

“To compensate for the eight hour loss from the one-day work day off, the working hours of the offices, agencies or companies that will participate in this proposal may be adjusted accordingly to comply with the 40-hour work a week requirement,” he said.

Macalintal noted most employees, nonetheless, stay late in the office even after office hours or come to work very early in the morning to avoid the traffic in going to and from their respective offices.

“A little sacrifice from all concerned people and offices is not too much to ask for the greater benefit and welfare of the public," he said.

After Manila, the scheme can already be implemented across the country, specifically Cebu and Davao.

“This proposal is an answer to our government’s clarion call for all concerned agencies, and all concerned citizens, to solve this worsening traffic conditions in Metro Manila and to conserve electricity and fuel in response to rising costs. This proposal may also be adopted by private entities who may be similarly minded to join the government in its effort to solve this traffic problem and save energy,” he said.

He first suggested the scheme in 1997.