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Villanueva: Passage of increased service incentive leave pay a Christmas gift to hardworking Filipino workers

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SENATOR Joel Villanueva sponsored on Monday a measure that seeks to increase service incentive leave pay of private employees.

Under Senate Bill No. 1614 or “An Act Increasing Service Incentive Leave Pay of Employees”, every employee who has rendered at least one year of service shall be entitled to an annual service incentive leave of 10 days.

Currently, service incentive leave pay is an employee benefit that enables them to take or avail of leave with pay for 5 days. However, this is commutable or convertible to cash if not used or exhausted at the end of the year.

The bill seeks to add an additional 5 days but the additional days shall not be commutable – there is no cash equivalent.

Moreover, the provision shall not apply to those who are already enjoying such benefit, those enjoying a vacation leave of at least 10 days with pay, and those in establishments regularly employing less than 10 people.

Villanueva, who chairs the Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, said that the increase of mandatory paid service incentive leave of employees “will benefit the economy, as it benefits both employees and employers.”

“Work-life balance is for the best interest of the economy. This legislation is yet another of our numerous efforts to seek gainful economics; an embodiment of our determination to advance the most basic of our national interests – livelihood commensurate to the human dignity and rights of our people: factory workers, office employees, call center agents, security guards, among others,” Villanueva said.

The senator cited a case of a security guard with two others posted at a private school in Quezon City. The three guards work on rotating shifts 24/7 including holidays, no vacations, 12 hours a shift, 13 if you include shift turnover.

Each of them is required to work 12 hours a shift and has to take a 24-hour shift once every other month as they rotate shift every month.

Villanueva said that because of this set-up, a security guard may also be forced to take a 24-hour shift whenever one of the guards takes a leave or is absent for some unavoidable reason.

“Consequently, absences, tardiness, sleeping at work, even rudeness and squabble among the guards themselves were rampant. These resulted to a considerable amount of security lapses,” the senator noted.

“Isipin n’yo na lang po: Thirteen hours kayo sa trabaho, malayo at ma-traffic ang byahe n’yo, ‘paano n’yo pa po kaya magagampanan ng maayos ang pangangalaga sa seguridad ng isang eskwelahan? Wala na nga kayong bakasyon, nagkataon pang 24-hour shift n’yo at kung kelan pauwi na sana kayo eh saka naman late yung ka-rotation n’yo, hindi po kaya uminit ang ulo n’yo? Makapasok pa po kaya kayo sa susunod na shift n’yo?” Villanueva shared.

Consequently, the school where the security guards are working demanded the agency to provide relievers which was later on forced to comply despite their initial refusal to do so.

Villanueva shared that at present, the security situation in the school has significantly improved and the guards can now take occasional leaves and they never have to suffer anymore a 24-hour shift.

“Employees with healthy work-life balance can better focus on their job because they will have less personal problems as they can spend more time to attend to their personal and family matters. It will affect their positive outlook on life and positive attitude at work,” the senator further emphasized.

Villanueva also noted that the benefits of the proposed measure to employees commensurate benefits to employers.

“I always say that happy employees will mean committed, productive, loyal employees. A contented employee is a committed employee who works efficiently to the employer’s profit,” Villanueva said.

“We submit that Senate Bill No. 1614 will help shape an economy that is harmonious with treasured Filipino values, most especially, strong family ties and a vibrant and happy community where there is positive regard for the well-being of our workers and their families,” the senator added.

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