Briefings not paid

Dear Atty. Kathy,

I am a new employee in Company A. My regular working hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday. Every morning, our team leader would require us to attend his 30-minute briefings on the important tasks for the day. However, when I received my first pay and payslip, I noticed that I was not paid for the 30-minute briefings, a total of five hours. When I asked our team leader about this, he said that the briefings are the department’s initiative to ensure that daily tasks are done by 6 p.m. He added that since we arrive in the office early anyway, the 30-minute briefings are not payable as working time. Are the briefings really not payable as working time?

Jack

***

Dear Jack,

According to Section 6, Rule I, Book II of the Rules to Implement the Labor Code, 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 is outside of the employee’s regular working hours; it is in fact voluntary; and the employee does not perform any productive work during such attendance.

Based on your narration, I noted that the briefings are not within your regular working hours, and it is only your team leader conducting the briefing. Thus, it appears that you do not perform any productive work during such briefings. However, you also mentioned that the team leader requires you to attend the briefing, thus, attendance thereto is not voluntary.

In a relevant case, Price Stabilization Corporation vs Court of Industrial Relations, et al. (G.R. L-13806, 23 May 1960), the Supreme Court ruled that the security guards who were asked to report for duty in advance of the usual working hours, for discipline purposes and for light work is compensable working time since their attendance thereto is not voluntary.

In view of all the foregoing, since your attendance to the 30-minute briefings is required and not voluntary, you are entitled to be paid for said briefings, as compensable working time.

Atty. Kathy Larios


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