The Blue Sunday Law (R.A. No. 946)

The "Blue Sunday Law" (R.A. No. 946) used to forbid commercial, industrial or agricultural enterprises to open on any Sunday, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Holy Thursday, and Good Friday. The rationale was noted thus: "Sundays and legal holidays are set aside by law as days of rest. The life, existence, and happiness of a person do not depend only on the satisfaction of his physical needs. There are moral, intellectual, and spiritual needs as imperative as the physical ones." Yet the Labor Code has made Sunday an ordinary working day.

Ordinarily, Sundays and legal holidays are dedicated to reading and instruction so as to fill the mind with culture or some sort of advancement. On those days the laborer enjoys longer hours in the company of his family. That gives him an opportunity to satisfy his moral needs. During Sundays and holidays more time is dedicated to worship and other religious services. That gives a laborer an opportunity to satisfy his spiritual needs.The deprivation of that opportunity to satisfy mental, moral, and spiritual needs should not be ignored, and should be properly compensated. (G.R. No. L-1206. October 30, 1947)

ASIA BED FACTORY v. NATIONAL BED: The petitioner faithfully complied with the terms of the above clause until it was forced to suspend its business on Sundays in obedience to the provisions of Republic Act No. 946, known as the Blue Sunday Law, which took effect on September 8, 1953, prohibiting the opening of any commercial, industrial or agricultural enterprise on Sundays. As some of petitioner's employees claimed that under the terms of their bargaining agreement they were entitled to their Sunday wages even if they did not work on those days, petitioner filed a petition in the Court of First Instance of Manila for a declaratory judgment that it ceased to be bound by the above-quoted clause of the collective bargaining agreement when the Blue Sunday Law went into effect. xxx Section 6 of the Blue Sunday Law which says that "it shall be unlawful for any employer to reduce the compensation of any of his employees or laborers by reason of the provisions of this Act" does not militate against this view. There is here no attempt on the part of the employer to reduce the compensation of his employees. It is the law itself which in effect reduces that compensation by depriving the employees of work on Sundays, thus preventing them from earning the wages stipulated in the bargaining agreement. (G.R. No. L-9126. January 31, 1957)

The discussion above is based on an outline by Azucena (2013). His books are available in fine bookstores nationwide. SOURCE: Azucena, C. A. (2013). The Labor Code: with Comments and Cases (Vol. 1). National Book Store.