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FYI, Your Boss Might Soon Be *Prohibited* From Contacting You Beyond Work Hours

It’s under the proposed House Bill No. 10717 entitled Workers' Rest Law.
Workers' Rest Law seeks to penalize employers who reach out beyond work hours
PHOTO: Unsplash/Christiann Koepke
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Raise your hands if you’re struggling with the so-called ~*work-life balance*~ ever since the pandemic hit. You find yourself hustling for longer hours than usual because, well, you’re just at home and so everyone expects you to be available 24/7, right? Case in point: your boss who is constantly asking for *revisions* at ungodly hours.

We get it, you take pride in your excellent work ethic, which means answering calls and emails late into the night, even if it means sacrificing your own personal boundaries.

Whatever the case is, here’s something that will let you heave a sigh of relief: A bill has recently been filed to the House of the Representatives seeking to prohibit employers and supervisors from giving non-urgent calls and messages to their employees during their rest hours.

Workers' Rest Law
Unsplash/Avel Chuklanov
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House Bill 10717, aptly named Workers’ Rest Law, was filed by Calamba City Rep. Joaquin Chipeco Jr., in an effort to improve working conditions in the country, especially for employees struggling to find balance in the new normal.

Under the said law, an employer, manager, or supervisor is forbidden to do the following during their “rest hours” or “any period other than the hours of work”:

  • Requiring the employee to work;
  • Requiring the employee to be on duty, to travel, or be at a prescribed place for work or work-related activities, such as attending seminars, meetings, team-building, and other similar activities; and
  • Contacting the employee for work and work-related purposes through phone, email, message, and other means of communications, unless it is for the purpose of notifying the employee of the necessity of rendering emergency or urgent work.

Violators are required to compensate the affected employee with P1,000 per hour of work rendered, or a fraction thereof.

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“Studies, therefore, have shown that under the “new normal,” many workers, particularly those who are on a work-from-home arrangement basis end up rendering beyond the maximum hours of work provided under the law. This emerging trend does not bode well for the mental health of the employees, not to mention family solidarity,” wrote Rep. Chipeco on the explanatory note.

He added, “While acknowledging certain exceptions based on the nature of work and tasks deemed [an] emergency or as urgent, this bill seeks to uphold the letter and the spirit of our labor laws which is to respect mandated rest hours for our workers and prohibit the various forms of abuses in that connection.”

The bill covers employees in all establishments and undertakings, whether for profit or not. However, it wouldn’t apply to field personnel, domestic helpers, persons in the personal service of another, and workers who are “paid by results.”

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“Field personnel” is defined as “non-agricultural employees who regularly perform their duties away from the principal place of business or branch office of the employer and whose actual hours of work in the field cannot be determined with reasonable certainty.”

The bill is a counterpart measure to Senator Francis Tolentino’s Senate Bill 2475 or Workers’ Rest Law.

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