excessive heat

Amid rising temperatures, DOLE urges flexible work arrangements when possible

Michelle Abad

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Amid rising temperatures, DOLE urges flexible work arrangements when possible

HEAT. Pedestrians cover their heads as they experience a 40 degress celsius heat index in Manila, on April 2, 2024.


The Department of Labor and Employment urges employers to implement safety measures when jobs require physical presence

MANILA, Philippines – Amid excessive heat caused by the El Niño phenomenon, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) called on employers to implement flexible working arrangements when possible.

Ang DOLE po ay advocate ng, una, flexible work arrangement, tapos ‘yung tinatawag na work-from-home arrangement (The DOLE is an advocate of flexible work and work-from-home arrangements),” Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma said in a press briefing on Friday, April 26.

Laguesma was responding to Camarines Sur 2nd District Representative LRay Villafuerte, who had called for the return to the work-from-home setup to protect both public and private sector employees from the heat.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA), tagged dangerous temperatures in some areas in the country, reaching as high as over 40 degrees celsius, which may result in heat stroke.

In elaborating on the DOLE’s position, Laguesma said that flexible working arrangements help with three things: work-life balance, “enhancement” of an employee’s satisfaction, and productivity.

But the labor secretary recognized that not all jobs could be easily done in a flexible or work-from-home arrangement.

Siguro doon sa mga may pangangailangan sa physical presence, higit naming pag-iibayuhin ‘yung assistance ng DOLE – paano ba magkaroon ng working hours, working conditions…. Sana epektibo at saka efficient ang ventilation, insulation, at saka ‘yung personal protective equipment,” he said.

(For jobs that require physical presence, the DOLE will enhance its assistance – how to have working hours, [ensure] working conditions…. They should be effective and efficient ventilation and insulation, and also personal protective equipment.)

The DOLE issued Labor Advisory No. 8 in 2023, which provides for safety and health measures to prevent and control heat stress in workplaces. These include recommendations to adjust working hours, implement breaks for heat-related rest and recovery, and provide free potable water.

Labor Undersecretary Benjo Santos Benavidez said that some workers have “lost their jobs” due to the effects of El Niño. (READ: Extreme heat is hurting the economy)

He said that as of April, the DOLE assisted more than 35,000 workers through its emergency employment program, Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos Region, Central Luzon, Calabarzon, Mimaropa, Western Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, and Northern Mindanao. – Rappler.com

IN PHOTOS: Filipinos find ways to cope with scorching heat

IN PHOTOS: Filipinos find ways to cope with scorching heat

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Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a multimedia reporter at Rappler. She covers the rights of women and children, migrant Filipinos, and labor.