Friday, December 21, 2007

Palace clarifies long holiday break

By Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer

So sorry. There will be no additional pay for employees in the private sector reporting for work on Dec. 22 (Saturday) and 23 (Sunday), as well as on Dec. 29 (Saturday).

“There’s no instruction from higher-ups to issue a presidential proclamation to declare these days as special nonworking holidays,” said Severo “Nonoy” Catura, an undersecretary in the Office of the Executive Secretary.

The option of granting long holidays to employees in the private sector rests with employers, said Catura.

Just like in the government, it’s up to employers or heads of offices to decide whether to come up with a skeletal force in the afternoon of Dec. 23, he said.

Special nonworking day

The government has declared Dec. 24 (Monday) a special nonworking day under Presidential Proclamation No. 1211.

Christmas Day is a regular holiday, so is Dec. 30 (Rizal Day) and New Year’s Day.

Dec. 31 (New Year’s Eve) is a nationwide special holiday under Republic Act No. 9492.

This clarification came after Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said at his regular press conference Wednesday that a long Christmas holiday and a long New Year holiday awaited employees.

Back to work Dec. 26

Ermita said that the long Christmas holiday—at least for state employees who do not go to work on weekends—would start on Dec. 22 (Saturday) and end on Tuesday (Dec. 25).

Employees in government and private offices are expected to be at work on Dec. 26 (Wednesday) until Dec. 28 (Friday), he said.

For government workers -- except those in vital departments and agencies -- the four-day New Year holiday begins on Dec. 29 (Saturday) and ends on Jan. 1 (Tuesday).

Under the Labor Code, employers must pay those who report for work on legal holidays 200 percent of the daily rate of their employees.

On special holidays, employers must pay an additional 30 percent over the regular rate.

The President may declare other special holidays from time to time.

The legal holidays are Jan. 1 (New Year), April 9 (Bataan Day), May 1 (Labor Day), Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, June 12 (Independence Day), Aug. 31 (National Heroes Day), the end of Ramadan, Nov. 1 (All Saints’ Day), Nov. 30 (Bonifacio Day), Christmas Day and Dec. 30.

Considered special holidays are Aug. 21 (Ninoy Aquino Day), Nov. 1, Election Day, Dec. 24, Dec. 31 (New Year’s Eve) and Black Saturday.

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