Employers must support ‘flexi work’ scheme

October 4, 2022 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 97 views

THE chairman of the House Committee on Labor and Employment has called on employers to fully support the flexible working arrangements provided by Republic Act (RA) No. 11165 or the Telecommuting Act of 2018.

“With the release of the expanded rules for the telecommuting law, we hope that more employers will implement [a] flexible working arrangement for their workers. Madalas ngang sabihin na ‘a happy worker is a productive worker,’” Rizal 4th District Representative Fidel Nograles, chairman of the House Committee on Labor and Employment.

“If we can provide our employees with the opportunity to spend more time with their families without hampering productivity, that’s a win for all sides,” Nograles said.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in September released the revised implementing rules and regulations (IRRs) of the telecommuting law through Department Order (DO) No. 237.

The DOLE said the revised IRR was released in response to the evolving nature of work due to the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic, particularly with the broader adoption of work-from-home (WFH) and other alternative workplace schemes.

Nograles said the release of the revised IRR is “timely” amid the steady rise in the cost of goods and problems in public transport.

“Hours lost to traffic is also money and productivity lost. If more employers implement alternative workplace schemes, they could increase productivity and even help their employees cope with the rising cost of goods,” Nograles said.

“This is an arrangement that will benefit all concerned,” Nograles added.

The IRR clarifies that work done in an alternative setup must be treated on the same level as work done in the regular workplace or the employers’ offices. Related to this, telecommuting workers would only be considered field personnel “when their actual hours of work cannot be determined with reasonable certainty.”

The IRR also provides that telecommuting employees and those in the regular workplace should have the same rights and benefits, including overtime pay, night shift differential, and other monetary benefits; access to training, career development opportunities; collective bargaining rights; and coverage of company rules and policies.

According to the IRR, the telecommuting employee should have the same or equivalent workload and performance standards as those of comparable workers at the employer’s premises. However, the parties may mutually agree to different performance standards that may be more appropriate given the employee’s location.