Normal Hours of Work
The normal hours of work under the Labor Code is 8 hours in one work day. Work day is understood to mean one 24-hour cycle which starts from the time the employee is engaged to work and ends on the same time the following day. For example, if the employee is engaged to work from 8:00am to 5:00pm, his work day is the 24-hour cycle that starts from 8:00am and ends at 8:00am of the following day.
The employer is free to adopt what time in a day the work shall start as long as the total number of hours worked will not exceed 8 hours. If the number of hours worked exceed 8 hours, the employee must be paid overtime pay for the excess. How to compute overtime pay?
Hours worked definition
Hours worked refers to all compensable period of work. Hours work includes:
- All the time during which an employee is required to be on duty or to be at a prescribed workplace; and
- All the time during which an employee is suffered or permitted to work.
The employer must give his employees not less than 60 minutes or one hour time-off for their meals. This period in noncompensable, which means that it is not to be included in the computation of hour’s worked. For example, if an employee’s work is from 8:00am to 5:00 with one hour meal break from 12:00nn to 1:00pm, the total compensable hours of the employee is 8 hours, i.e., from 8:00am – 12:00nn and 1:00pm – 5:pm. The period from 12:00nn to 1:00pm is noncompensable.
Shortened meal periods
Under exceptional circumstances, the employer may give the employee a meal period of not less than 20 minutes, provided that such shorter meal period is credited as compensable hours worked of the employee.
Shortened meal period may be allowed under the following cases:
- Where the work is non-manual work in nature or does not involve strenuous physical exertion;
- Where the establishment regularly operates not less than 16 hours a day;
- In case of actual or impending emergencies or there is urgent work to be performed on machineries, equipment or installations to avoid serious loss; and
- Where the work is necessary to prevent serious loss of perishable goods.
The employer may give their employees rest periods or coffee breaks during working hours in order to beef them up or to make them more productive. Unlike meal periods, rest periods running from 5 to 20 minutes is compensable as hours worked. Rest period running for more that 20 minutes may or may not be compensable depending on the situation. See letter (b) under Principles in determining hours worked.
The giving of rest period, however, is not required under the Labor Code, and is largely a management prerogative.
The following general principles may be used to determine whether the time spent by an employee is considered hours worked or not:
- All hours are hours worked which the employee is required to give his employer, regardless of whether or not such hours are spent in productive labor or involve physical or mental exertion.
- An employee need not leave the premises of the work place in order that his rest period shall not be counted, it being enough that he stops working, may rest completely and may leave his work place, to go elsewhere, whether within or outside the premises of his work place.
- If the work performed was necessary, or it benefited the employer, or the employee could not abandon his work at the end of his normal working hours because he had no replacement, all time spent for such work shall be considered as hours worked, if the work was with the knowledge of his employer or immediate supervisor.
- The time during which an employee is inactive by reason of interruptions in his work beyond his control shall be considered working time either if the imminence of the resumption of work requires the employee’s presence at the place of work or if the interval is too brief to be utilized effectively and gainfully in the employee’s own interest.
Waiting time spent by an employee shall be considered as working time if waiting is an integral part of his work or the employee is required or engaged by the employer to wait.
On call duty
An employee who is required to remain on call in the employer’s premises or so close thereto that he cannot use the time effectively and gainfully for his own purpose shall be considered as working while on call. The employee must be required to leave a word where he may be reached. An employee who is not required to leave word at his home or with company officials where he may be reached is not working while on call.
Lectures, meetings, training programs
Attendance at lectures, meetings, training programs, and other similar activities shall not be counted as working time if all of the following conditions are met:
- Attendance is outside of the employee’s regular working hours;
- Attendance is in fact voluntary; and
- The employee does not perform any productive work during such attendance.
- Chapter 1, Title I, Book Three, Labor Code of the Philippines (Article 82 to 85)
- Rule I, Book Three, Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code.
Last Edited: Friday, August 19, 2011