Work from home bill signed into law

January 11, 2019
Rodrigo R. Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed the Telecommuting Act which allows employees in the private sector to work from home.

According to a document released on Thursday, Republic Act No. 11165 was signed by the President on December 20, 2018.    

It defines telecommuting as a work arrangement wherein an employee is allowed to work from an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunication and computer technologies.

The law does not require employers to establish telecommuting arrangements, but stresses those must be offered to employees “on a voluntary basis.” It also mandates employers to ensure that “telecommuting employees are given the same treatment as that of comparable employees working at the employer’s premises,” including the pay and benefits.

As ordered, the Labor secretary will come up with the implementing rules and regulations in consultation with stakeholders within 60 days.

The law allowing private sector employees to work from home, or anywhere outside the office through telecommuting, is a potential solution to the traffic woes in Metro Manila and other urban centers, Malacañang said yesterday.

Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo hailed lawmakers who pushed for the enactment of the bill.

“We laud our lawmakers for the timely passage of RA No. 11165, since telecommuting as a work arrangement is fast becoming the new norm, with the Filipino labor market starting to open up with alternative avenues in view of computer technologies,” Panelo said in a statement.

“With its full implementation, we are optimistic that this arrangement can also contribute to easing the traffic conditions in Metro Manila and in other urban areas,” Panelo added.

The Philippines is losing some P3.5 billion a day, mainly in terms of lost productivity due to the traffic situation in Metro Manila, according to a study released by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) last year.

With the rising costs of the gridlock hounding the country, JICA said the government must focus on its massive infrastructure spending program to address such concerns.

Under the Duterte administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program, the government plans to spend over P8 trillion until 2022 to be funded by tax revenue.

RA 11165 keeps telecommuting as employers’ prerogative based on mutual agreement to include work hours that must be paid, minimum number of work hours, overtime, rest days, and entitlement to leave benefits.

“The Palace notes that this landmark piece of legislation will give fair treatment to telecommuting employees in the private sector, who can now work from home or any place outside the employers’ premises and still be given the same treatment and entitlements as those employees physically working at the offices,” Panelo said.

The Palace is confident that  that the Department of Labor and Employment “will perform thoroughly as it leads the government in putting into action the directives of the law.”

“President Duterte’s signing of the Telecommuting Act is indeed recognition of an emerging and innovative Filipino workforce,” Panelo said.