The proposed Telecommuting Act encourages employers to allow telecommuting or the partial or total substitution of computers or telecommunication technologies for the commute to work by employees.
File
Work from home bill awaits Duterte’s signature
Paolo Romero (The Philippine Star) - October 19, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Work From Home Bill is one step closer to becoming a law as it awaits President Duterte’s signature after the Senate and House of Representatives ratified the landmark measure.

The proposed Telecommuting Act encourages employers to allow telecommuting or the partial or total substitution of computers or telecommunication technologies for the commute to work by employees.

In the bicameral conference committee report ratified by both chambers of Congress, telecommuting – a work arrangement that allows an employee in the private sector to work from an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunication and/or computer technologies – will remain as employers’ prerogative based on a mutual agreement.

The measure was principally authored by Sen. Joel Villanueva who chairs the Senate committee on labor, employment and human resources development. 

He noted that while a telecommuting program is voluntary or optional, it should not be less than the minimum labor standards set by law, including that for health and safety of workers, schedule and workloads, work hours and social security.

“We are confident that we have placed enough safeguards in this bill that will not only promote our workers’ right to work-life balance and flexible work arrangement but also ensure that the rights of home-based workers are protected by giving them equal pay, leave benefits and promotion as their counterparts in the office,” Villanueva said.

Aside from promoting work-life balance, the senator said the bill also seeks to address traffic congestion and its tremendous effect on the country’s economy.

Once the bill is enacted into law, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is expected to come up with guidelines that will ensure the fair treatment provision of the measure.

The provision will focus on rate of pay that includes overtime and night shift differential and other similar monetary benefits not lower than those provided in applicable laws and collective bargaining agreements.

It would also include the right to rest periods, regular holidays and special non-working days; equivalent workload and performance standards as those of comparable workers at the employer’s premises; appropriate training on the technical equipment at their disposal and the characteristics and conditions of telecommuting; and collective rights as workers at employer’s premises.

It should also provide that telecommuting workers shall not be barred from communicating with workers’ representatives and be given access to training and career development opportunities as those of comparable workers at the employer’s premises, and be subject to the same appraisal policies covering these workers.

The measure also provides for the establishment of a telecommuting pilot program in select industries for a period of not more than three years to enable DOLE to determine the advantages and disadvantages of a telecommuting program in the Philippines. 

“We are now one step closer to our goal – to produce a cohesive and strong policy that affords our workers meaningful work-life balance and an option to work under a flexible work arrangement,” Villanueva said.

He is optimistic that “once this work-from-home bill becomes a law, we can now have a stable and consistent legal framework that can provide an enabling environment to encourage participation and enforce compliance among enterprises, big or small.”

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES RODRIGO DUTERTE
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with