G.R. No. 78210 – 170 SCRA 776 – Labor Law – Labor Standards – Hours of Work – Assembly Time is Not Waiting Time
Teofilo Arica et al and 561 others sued Standard Fruits Corporation (STANFILCO) Philippines for allegedly not paying the workers for their assembly time which takes place every work day from 5:30am to 6am. The assembly time consists of the roll call of the workers; their getting of assignments from the foreman; their filling out of the Laborer’s Daily Accomplishment Report; their getting of tools and equipment from the stockroom; and their going to the field to work. The workers alleged that this is necessarily and primarily for STANFILCO’s benefit.
ISSUE: Whether or not the worker’s assembly time should be paid.
HELD: No. The thirty minute assembly time long practiced and institutionalized by mutual consent of the parties under Article IV, Section 3, of the Collective Bargaining Agreement cannot be considered as ‘waiting time’ within the purview of Section 5, Rule I, Book III of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the Labor Code.
Furthermore, the thirty (30)-minute assembly is a deeply-rooted, routinary practice of the employees, and the proceedings attendant thereto are not infected with complexities as to deprive the workers the time to attend to other personal pursuits. In short, they are not subject to the absolute control of the company during this period, otherwise, their failure to report in the assembly time would justify the company to impose disciplinary measures.