Local, foreign biz groups oppose more non-working holidays

June 06, 2018 News

MANILA -- The Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines-Philippine Business Groups (JFC-PBG) opposed the legislation of more non-working holidays, saying the increasing number of non-working holidays will affect the country’s competitiveness.

In a letter to Senate Chairperson on Committee on Education, Arts and Culture Francis Escudero, the JFC-PBG expressed concern on additional non-working holidays based on pending legislation in the Congress.

The foreign and local business groups cited that the cost of every non-working holiday to the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry is around PHP750 million in extra expenses for overtime.

The JFC-PBG noted that this is higher by 10 to 15 percent compared to the India’s non-working holiday cost.

“While we do not have data on the effect of paid holidays on their industries, we should recognize the severe impact that additional paid holidays will have on other large sectors of the economy including manufacturing, transportation and logistics, and tourism.

JFC-PBG added that for day workers, this would mean they lose a day of pay on holidays when they have no work.

Three bills are pending in the Senate creating new non-working holidays including Iglesia ni Cristo Founding Anniversary every July 27, Indigenous People’s Day every Aug. 9, and declaring Dec. 25 to Jan. 1 as special non-working holidays.

Eight bills are also in the House of Representatives waiting for declaration of more non-working holidays. These are: Feasts of the Lord, Chinese New Year, Araw ng Kasambahay every Jan. 18, commemoration of the fallen 44 Special Action Force every Jan. 25, National Women’s Day every March 5, National Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation Day every July 17, Indigenous People’s Day every Oct. 9, and making Dec. 25 to Jan. 1 as special non-working holidays.

Last year,  Congress enacted into law the bill declaring Dec. 8 as a new special non-working holiday to commemorate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary.

“When we appeared at the committee hearing on the proposed December 8 NWH (non-working holiday), we were assured that the Senate position was to oppose all proposals for new NWHs,” the business groups’ letter to Escudero said.

As a result, the upper house approved the Senate Bill 1270 declaring the last Monday of January as National Bible Day as a special working holiday.

“We commend the actions of the Senate to pass legislation that recognized the faith of Filipinos without placing any financial burden on employers by adding another paid holiday,” the JFC-PBG said.

“Instead of creating more NWHs through legislation, national competitiveness can be protected by making clear both Executive and Legislative branches will only support new working holidays and are opposed to new NWHs,” the business organizations said.

For 2018, there are 20 national non-working holidays and an addition of another one non-working holiday for most companies, as over 100 local non-working holidays are proclaimed each year.

With a total of 21 non-working holidays annually, Philippines has more non-working holidays compared to Malaysia which has 14, Thailand with 17, and Vietnam with 12.

JFC-PBG is composed of American Chamber of Commerce of the Phils., Inc.,  Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce (Phils.), Inc., Bankers Association of the Philippines, Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Phils., Inc., European Chamber of Commerce of the Phils., Inc., IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines,  Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of the Phils., Inc., Korean Chamber of Commerce of the Phils., Inc., Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, Inc., Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters, Inc., Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Semiconductors Electronics Industries in the Philippines, Inc. (PNA)