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‘Di na kailangan mag-time in: Senate OKs work from home bill

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Employees from the private sector may soon be able to “telecommute” or work from home once a proposed bill is passed into law allowing such job arrangement.

Senator Joel Villanueva stressed this on Wednesday after the Senate ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the proposed law allowing telecommuting.

Telecommuting is 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.

However, telecommuting would “remain as employers’ prerogative based on a mutual agreement,” said Villanueva, chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor.

“While a telecommuting program is voluntary or optional, it should not be less than the minimum labor standards set by law including that for health and safety of workers, schedule and workloads, work hours and social security,” he said.

“That’s why we are pushing for the approval of this measure so that we can 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 said.

Once enacted into law, the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) is expected to come up with guidelines that will ensure the “fair treatment” provision of the measure such as the 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.

The bicam report also provides for the establishment of a telecommuting “pilot program” in select industries for a period of not more than three years to enable DoLE to determine the advantages and disadvantages of a telecommuting program in the Philippines.

“We congratulate all our co-authors in both Houses for their unceasing support to this measure which will give our workers a meaningful work-life balance,” Villanueva said.