compensable hours

If companies had their way- it would implement a 48 hour work day. This isn’t possible- hence to balance working hours with skills enhancement, management regularly mandates weekend seminars and team building. Employees lose 2 days of what should be a rest day and this raises the question: are weekends filled with corporate training compensable?

Employees are compensated only on their working hours, so to answer the question, we scrutinize the Labor Code’s definition:

Art. 82 Hours Worked—Hours worked shall include (a) all the time during which an employee is required to be on duty or to be at a prescribed workplace, and (b) all the time during which an employee is or permitted to work. xxx.

Admittedly seminars, team buildings and company parties do not contemplate the  execution of regular contractual tasks however, the mandate requiring an employee’s presence at a prescribed place equates to an order to abide to in conjunction with work.

Employers will question the ambiguity  surrounding the definition of compensable working hours. The Labor Code reconciles this easily.

Art. 4. Construction in favor of labor. All doubts in the implementation and interpretation of the provisions of this Code, including its implementing rules and regulations, shall be resolved in favor of labor.

Furthermore, the confusion as to whether or not such a weekend company event equates to compensable working time is clarified by a provision in the Implementing Rules of the Labor Code:

Sec. 6. 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 i soutside of the employee’s regular working hours; attendance is in fact voluntary; and the employee does not perform any productive work during such attendance.” (Rule 1, Book III, Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code).

Pay special heed to the use of the all modifier ensconced within the wording of the law. Attendance at seminars are considered compensable working time if not all of the above conditions exist.

The Labor Code identifies a key condition pertaining to the voluntary nature of the activity. If the weekend event is required by your employer, the condition of voluntariness is absent which renders the engagement bonafide working time.

The logical conclusion therefore is that mandatory training on a weekend is considered working time.  Workers are mandated by law to receive their regular wage for that day.

The Employee now wonders- are premium rates available when such training days occur on a rest day? The answer is yes. The employee can rightfully demand an additional compensation of at least 30 percent of the regular daily wage on top of the employee’s usual daily wage since it is considered as work on a rest day (Sec. 9, Rule 1, Book III, Omnibus IRR Labor Code).