PEZA allows an arrangement of 30% WFH

COMPANIES registered with the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) can apply for a hybrid working scheme that allows 30% of their employees to work from home (WFH) until September this year.

PEZA chief executive Charito Plaza announced in a statement on Friday that the agency is now accepting applications from information technology business process outsourcing (IT-BPO) firms and registered business enterprises (RBE). ) who will not be able to return to work after April 1st.

She said they can ask PEZA for a letter of authorization including the necessary conditions. IT-BPOs and RBEs wishing to benefit from this work arrangement must apply separately to the investment promotion agency.

Plaza said this hybrid 70:30 work setup will only be in place until September 12, 2022, when President Rodrigo Duterte declares the state of calamity over.

PEZA’s WFH program for its registered IT-BPOs and RBEs, she said, was conceptualized even before Republic Act 11165, or the “Telecommuting Act,” was passed on December 20, 2018. .

“PEZA therefore only restores the regular ratio of no more than 30% domestic sales allowance and WFH labor ratio. PEZA gives the institutionalization of the hybrid labor regime to include protection, safety and DoLE tenure security of workers engaged in virtual or WFH programs to the next administration,” Plaza noted, referring to the Department of Labor and Employment.

For her part, PEZA Deputy Director General for Policy and Planning, Tereso Panga, said the provisions of the Business Recovery and Business Tax Incentives Act do not prevent RBEs and IT-BPOs registered with the PEZA to do remote work or carry out part of their activity externally. economic areas.

“As long as our ecozone locators performing hybrid work comply with the minimum of 70% export sales and a minimum of 70% on-site reporting by their workers, they are [and should be] right to take advantage of our tax incentives,” he said.

Commenting on this PEZA statement, Secretary of Commerce Ramon Lopez said, “The 70/30 export to domestic revenue as a definition of exporting businesses can also be applied to [onsite/WFH] arrangement. Registered companies that comply will continue to receive incentives.”

However, he warned that the Bureau of Internal Revenue may later debate whether the incentives should apply to all project revenue or only that related to the 70% made onsite.

Meanwhile, Plaza refuted reports that several IT-BPOs and RBEs would leave the agency if the hybrid working model in economic zones could not be sustained.

“It is not true that our registered IT-BPOs and RBEs have left our ecozones. Despite the same tax incentives with the BoI (Board of Investments), it is not easy to cancel an operation. We also have a protocol which prohibits a company for double registration.

PEZA reported that as of December last year, it had 1,274 computer localization companies working in 297 computer centers/parks, employing 1.017 million people and generating $15.797 billion in exports.

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