Gloria Arroyo and son propose 6-hour workday for public school teachers

Manila, Philippines - Former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her son Diosdado 'Dato' Macapagal Arroyo, Camarines Sur Representative propose shorter working hours for public school teachers from the standard eight (8) to six (6) hours per day thru House Bill 2684.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and son Dato Arroyo

"Let's give our teachers a break," lawmakers appealed as they proposed to reduce their working hours from the standard mandatory eight to six hours per day.

"While teachers' pay has been increased by recent enactments of law, they still desire higher pay and shorter working hours. Their present work schedule has left them stressed out and exhausted much to the detriment of our students", the lawmakers added.

HB 2684 proposes a six-hour workday for public school teachers and exempts them from compliance with the Civil Service mandated eight-hour workday for government workers. It will also be a great reprieve for teachers given that any work performed in excess of six hours a day shall be considered as additional compensation of at least twenty-five percent of their regular remuneration.

The bill shall exempt teachers from Civil Service Rules which prescribed the generally established rule on an eight-hour workday. Section 3 of the bill states that "any teacher engaged in actual teaching may be required to render more than six hours of teaching upon payment of additional compensation at the same rate of his/her regular plus at least twenty-five percent of his/her basic pay."

Said section further states that "teachers who are not engaged in actual teaching but render more than six hours work shall likewise be entitled to the additional compensation provided in this Section."

The said exemption from CSC rules is also in observance of Book V of the Administrative Code of 1987 which also states that "Officers and employees of all departments and agencies except those covered by special laws shall render not less than eight hours of work a day for five days a week or a total of forty-hours a week, exclusive of time for lunch."

Furthermore, Section 5 states that "notwithstanding provisions of existing law to the contrary, co-curricula, out-of-school activities and other activities of any teacher outside of their normal duties shall be paid an additional compensation of at least twenty-five percent of his/her regular remuneration after the teacher has completed at least six hours of work."

"The role of our teacher in moulding our youth and contributing to national development cannot be undermined," the authors said, stressing that "it is therefore only right that their needs and welfare be given utmost priority by the government.

The Magna Carta for Public School Teachers or Republic Act No. 4670 provides that teaching hours for teachers shall not be more than six hours. The Department of Education (DepEd) issued Memorandum 291 s. 2008 allowing teachers to allot six hours for actual classroom teaching per day while the remaining two hours to be spent in teaching-related activities.

"While strictly speaking the essence of the law is respected, this memorandum requires from them a total of eight hours a day," Arroyo pointed out.

Reducing the number of working hours, the authors explained, will allow the teachers to rejuvenate, in mind and body, and allot more time for them to innovate and enhance classroom teaching.

HB 2684 seeks to reduce the working hours of all public school teachers, whether engaged in actual classroom teaching or not, to a six-hour workday for a total of thirty-hour workweek.

HB 2684 has been referred by plenary to the House Committee on Basic Education chaired by Rep. Kimi Cojuangco (5th District, Pangasinan) for proper consideration and action.

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