MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Sunday announced the expansion of the Work from Home Agreement (WFH) in a bid to encourage stakeholders to implement telework programs .
Departmental Order 237, signed by Secretary of Labor Bienvenido Laguesma on Friday but not provided to the media until Sunday, contained the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 11165 or the telecommuting.
“To maximize the benefits of technology, the state encourages employers and employees to jointly adopt and implement telework programs based on voluntary and mutual consent,” the order reads.
The new rules stated that “general telecommuting terms and conditions shall not be less than minimum labor standards and shall not in any way diminish or alter the terms and conditions of employment contained in any applicable company policy or practice, individual contract or collective bargaining. OK.”
The order also stated that an employer must ensure that telecommuting employees “received the same treatment as comparable employees working at the employer’s regular place of employment.”
This means that teleworkers should have the same rights as employees working on site with regard to rest days, public holidays and special non-working days; receive an equivalent workload; and similar remuneration, among others.
The order stated that “work performed at an alternate place of employment shall be deemed to be work performed at the employer’s usual place of employment”.
“All time an employee is required to be on duty, and all time an employee is permitted or suffered to work at the alternate work location shall be counted as hours worked,” the order noted. ,
The revised RIR defines “alternative place of work” as any place where work, through the use of telecommunications, is performed at a location remote from the employer’s principal place of business, including, but not limited to , employee residence, coworking spaces, or other spaces that enable mobile working.
“Usual place of work”, on the other hand, refers to the principal head office or any branch or physical premises provided by the employer where employees regularly report for work.
The DOLE said the revised rules were the result of nearly two months of consultations with affected industries, passing review and input from members of the National Tripartite Council for Industrial Peace – an advisory body chaired by the Secretary of Labor. and composed of representatives of workers and employers.
The order also said the DOLE should be notified of the implementation of telecommuting through a facility reporting system.
It comes as Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno announced that business process outsourcing (BPO) companies can keep their tax benefits while continuing to offer telecommuting options to their employees when transferring their registration from the Philippine Economic Zone Authority at Board of Investments.
On Friday, Department of Health (DOH) official Maria Rosario Vergeire also said the agency supports extending WFH agreements because it could prevent not only the transmission of COVID-19, but also other diseases.
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