A BILL was filed in the Senate regulating worker rest hours and deterring companies from compelling employees to perform additional tasks outside their formal work schedules.

“This bill defines the rest hours of employees, and prohibits employers from exacting work or contacting employees, without the latter’s consent, during rest hours,” according to the bill, proposed by Senator Francis N. Tolentino.

The bid to regulate work hours comes as work-from-home and telecommuting arrangements blur the lines between work and personal time.

Senate Bill 2475, or the proposed Workers’ Rest Law, sets normal hours of work at a maximum of eight hours a day, with those on compressed workweek arrangements capped at 12 hours a day.

The measure was meant to address the extra work being performed because “the power of control of employers now overreaches beyond working hours through the use of phone and e-mail.”

Any period beyond work hours will be considered rest hours, past which an employee may not be compelled to render overtime work without freely given written consent. Any prior waiver of the right to perform overtime work as a condition of hiring will be deemed void.

If passed, the measure provides for compensation of P1,000 for every hour of work rendered in violation of the rules.

If employees are limited, segregated, or classified in any way that would discriminate, deprive, or diminish their employment opportunities as a result of asserting their rights under the bill, the violator faces imprisonment of up to six months and a fine of at least P100,000.

The proposed law will apply to employees in all establishments, whether for profit or not, but not to field personnel, domestic helpers, personal service workers, and workers who are paid by results. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan