President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Republic Act 11165 or the Telecommuting Act which allows employees to work from home.
The Telecommuting Act allows an employee in the private sector to work from home or an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunication or computer technologies. The law aims to address traffic congestion and to promote work-life balance.
An employer may offer a telecommuting program to its employees on a voluntary basis. The adoption of such scheme remains a prerogative of employers but the program should not be less than the minimum labor standards set by law on health and safety of workers, schedule and workloads, work hours and social security. An employer is required to ensure that a telecommuting employee will not be isolated from the rest of the working community by giving him opportunities to meet with colleagues and allowing access to company information.
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The country’s largest workers group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) applauded President Rodrigo Duterte for signing into law a measure allowing workers to work from home as alternative work arrangement in the light of heavy traffic congestion and poor mass transport system.
“After pending in both congress for so many congresses, Duterte’s signing into law allowing workers to work from home alternative work arrangement finally sets the clear parameters for both employees and employers who wants to jointly practice the scheme. This alternative work scheme will benefit both employers and their employees,” TUCP President Raymond Mendoza said.
He said those who work from home would be able save from transport and food costs. Employees would also be able to minimize stress caused by traffic congestion and ageing mass transport system.
Employers meanwhile would be able to minimize operational costs and ensure higher productivity from home working employee.
This will also widen the employment horizons for Person with Disabilities, senior citizens and working mothers who need not to report at work.
According to Mendoza, the alternative work arrangement will not change the 8-hour standard working time. There is also no diminution of wages and benefits including overtime pay, sick leave, maternity leave and all other benefits that employees have been receiving.
However, these rights must be ensured in the drafting of its Implementing Rules and Regulations spearheaded by the Labor department, workers and employers groups particularly workers’ right to form a union and collectively bargain are complied with.
Mendoza expects the IRR finished by March this year.
On one hand, the work from home arrangement is not applicable in other industries particularly those working manufacturing and services sector.