President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law that gives flexible working arrangement to private sector employees by allowing them to work from home or anywhere outside the office through telecommuting.
Duterte approved Republic Act 11165 or The Telecommuting Act on December 20 last year.
Telecommuting is 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.
The law provides that telecommuting will remain as employers’ prerogative based on a mutual agreement which shall include the compensable work hours, minimum number of work hours, overtime, rest days and entitlement to leave benefits.
"In all cases, the employer shall provide the telecommuting employee with relevant written information in order to adequately apprise the individual of the terms and conditions of the telecommuting program and the responsibilities of the employee," the law stated.
The employer must also ensure that telecommuting employees are given the same treatment as that of other employees working at the employer's premises.
All telecommuting employees shall enjoy the following:
- receive a rate of pay, including overtime and night shift differential, and other similar monetary benefits not lower than those provided in applicable laws, and collective bargaining agreements;
- 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;
- same 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;
- receive appropriate training on the technical equipment at their disposal, and the characteristics and conditions of telecommuting; and
- same collective rights as the workers at the employer’s premises, and shall not be barred from communicating with workers’ representatives.
The law also mandated the Department of Labor and Employment to establish a telecommuting pilot program in select industries for a period of not more than three years.
The agency shall be responsible for the "baselining, scoping and profiling research work prior to implementation, regular quarterly monitoring and evaluation."
The DOLE is required to submit its findings to Congress at the end of the program.
The law shall take effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or in any newspaper of general circulation. — MDM, GMA News