It is a declared policy of the State to uphold the people’s constitutional rights to life, health, safety, and property and to promote the general welfare of its people at all times, especially during disasters and calamities. This is the primary reason why former President Aquino issued the Prescribing rules on the cancellation or suspension of classes and work in government offices due to typhoons, flooding, other weather disturbances and calamities (Executive Order No. 66, s. 2012). In response, former Secretary Luistro issued DepEd Order 43, s. 2012 to prescribe rules on the implementation of EO 66, 2012.
Make-up classes are recommended in lieu of class cancellations due to celebrations and holidays, as well as natural and human-made calamities. Usually, schools use Saturdays for this activity.
This rule was clarified by Secretary Briones in November 2017, reminding the public that the implementation of makeup classes by schools remains optional granted that the required contact days for teaching and learning is not compromised. Public schools affected by series of class suspensions are not required to hold makeup classes or add extra hours on school days if the required nonnegotiable teacher-pupil contact time is still intact. She added that schools need not to use Saturdays for makeup classes. Aside from extending school hours on weekdays, teachers may give the learners extra assignments or homework to catch up on missed lessons due to the lost school days (Manila Bulletin, November 18, 2017).
However, there are reported cases where public school teachers receive deductions in salaries for failing to report for work on make-up classes scheduled on Saturdays or holidays. Is this justified? Can the school authorities make teachers conduct make-up classes even on holidays and mark them absent with corresponding salary deduction?
Sec. 32, Rule XVI, EO 292 provides that “where an official or an employee fails to report for work on a regular day for which suspension of work is declared after the start of regular working hours, he/she shall not be considered absent for the whole day. Instead, he/she shall only be deducted leave credits or the amount corresponding to the time when official working hours start up to the time the suspension of work is announced.” Therefore, an employee who fails to report for work on a pre-announced cancellation/suspension of work is NOT CONSIDERED ABSENT. No deduction in salary shall be affected. Why then would others think that Saturday make-up classes are used to offset the day’s salary received for not working when there is a declared cancellation of work? Are other government employees required to report too to their offices on weekends as payment for cancellation of work?
Others may think that since teachers are paid on a monthly basis, Saturdays and Sundays are also considered in the computation of monthly salary. The Civil Service Commission has issued a clarification on the actual basis of computation of the daily salary rate through CSC Resolution No. 991305. CSC has ruled that the daily salary rate is the result of dividing the monthly pay by twenty-two (22) working days. It is the average number of working days in a month and not thirty (30) days, the average number of calendar days monthly. Further, Section 28, par. 2 of CSC MC No. 41, s. 1998 states that Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays occurring within a period of service shall be considered as service although an employee DID NOT RECEIVE PAY ON THOSE DAYS inasmuch as his/her service was not then required. Therefore, teachers are not paid on Saturdays, Sundays or holidays because service is not required.
Suppose teachers are ordered to hold make-up classes on Saturdays and holidays, what then would be the consequence on their salaries when these days are not counted to complete the 22 working days divisor?
The Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) issued Joint Circular No. 1, s. 2015 providing policies and guidelines on overtime services and overtime pay for government employees. Listed in the priority activities that may warrant rendition of overtime services are those activities needed to meet performance targets or deliver services to the public as may be determined by the agency head. In DepEd, the conduct of makeup classes qualifies to this category since it ensures the fulfillment of the Department’s core mandate – to promote and protect the right of learners to quality basic education.
It is specified too in the CSC-DBM JC No. 1, s. 2015 that the period of overtime service includes those beyond the normal work hours on scheduled workdays and those rendered on rest days, holidays, and special non-working days. The Overtime Pay shall be 125% on a scheduled work day and 150% on a rest day or scheduled day off, holiday, or special non-working day.
However, teachers are often granted service credits instead of overtime pay. According to DepEd Order 53, s. 2003, services rendered in connection with the conduct of remedial classes during the summer or Christmas vacation or outside of regular school days is one of the activities eligible for the grant of service credits.
Holidays are declared for a purpose. Holding classes on those days defeats that purpose. Makeup classes which may be conducted in flexible forms in SY 2018-2019 should only be held to reach the 187 days non-negotiable contact days for teachers and learners. DepEd Order No. 25, s. 2018 declares that the total number of school days is 208 inclusive of the five-day In-Service Training and the three days for PTA Conferences. This translates that schools still have 13 buffer days for the unexpected cancellation of classes.
Teachers are paid a salary to enable them to discharge their professional duties effectively. If that now requires significant additional working for free, teachers’ contracts need to be amended. By working for free in rest days and holidays, teachers are showing that they do not need rest days and holidays and that they need not be paid well for the times they devote to a critical job that is to improve society.
If you are a teacher, what are you really worth?