The work-from-home bill is one step closer to becoming a law

It seeks to lessen traffic congestion, too
by Drei Laurel | Oct 18, 2018
PHOTO: Elaine Lara

Tired of spending hours upon hours stuck on EDSA on your way to work? If yes, we have some good news for you.

The Philippine Senate released a statement earlier today saying that the Telecommuting Act of 2017, better known as the work-from-home bill, is one step to finally becoming a law.

The bill, authored by Senator Joel Villanueva, is now awaiting President Dutertes signature after a bicam report ratification later this month.

In the bicam report ratified by both Houses 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 Senate statement reads.

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, Senator Villanueva said in a statement.

If the work-from-home bill is enacted into law, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will provide guidelines and ensure that its fair treatment provisions are met. Below are some of the provisions:

1. 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;

2. Right to rest periods, regular holidays, and special non-working days;

3. Equivalent workload and performance standards as those of comparable workers at the employer’s premises;

4. 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;

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5. Appropriate training on the technical equipment at their disposal, and the characteristics and conditions of telecommuting; and

6. Collective rights as the workers at the employer’s premises, and shall not be barred from communicating with workers’ representatives.

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 stressed.

Once this our 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, he added.

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PHOTO: Elaine Lara
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