PEZA asks the FIRB to reconsider the WFH arrangement

Louella Desiderio – The Filipina star

February 28, 2022 | 00:00

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) will seek reconsideration to allow Work From Home Agreement (WFH) at a limit of 50% for registered technology business process outsourcing companies. (IT-BPO) while benefiting from incentives until September of this year.

PEZA Deputy Director General Tereso Panga said the Interagency Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) had rejected his proposal to allow the WFH arrangement for IT-BPO businesses without the required capacity to 10% on site and no risk of losing incentives until September. .12 this year.

“We will submit our request for reconsideration always arguing, at the very least, that the extension is effective until the validity of the national state of calamity, which is still in force until September,” he said. declared.

He added that PEZA would push for a 50% WFH limit this time around.

“This is in line with the BOI (Board of Investments) proposal to be contained in the SIPP (Strategic Investment Priority Plan),” Panga said.

The SIPP identifies activities eligible for government incentives under the Business Recovery and Tax Incentives for Businesses Act (CREATE).

Under a resolution issued last year by the FIRB, IT-BPO companies are allowed to implement the WFH program for up to 90% of the total workforce until March 31 this year. year.

In proposing the expansion of the WFH program, PEZA cited Rule 23 of the Rules and Regulations Implementing the CREATE Act, which allows investment promotion agencies to implement temporary measures, after FIRB approval, to support the recovery of registered business enterprises under circumstances, including pandemic, epidemic, war, armed conflict, state of national health emergency, epidemic, international or regional financial crisis, major disaster such as an eruption volcano, an earthquake and a super typhoon.

Panga said that based on PEZA’s latest dialogue with the Philippines Association of Information Technology and Business Processes and management consulting firm McKinsey and Co., remote working remains a trend for companies in the world. whole world.

He said while some companies have seen an increase in productivity even with employees working from home, others have reported instances of fatigue and stress among employees involved in the WFH program.

While PEZA takes into account the interest of companies to pursue the WFH arrangement, he said the agency must also protect the interests of other stakeholders such as data centers which have invested heavily in providing facilities to computer locators.

Panga also said activities should be kept in computer centers as PEZA cannot assume jurisdiction over activities outside economic zones.

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