Way back in the early weeks of January, President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law a legislation that could potentially add a significant change to the working landscape in the Philippines. This was the Telecommuting Law, better known as the “Work from Home” law. This is the first law in the country that would legally cover arrangements allowing certain company employees to do their work from home if possible, via internet and telecommunications connectivity. While signed already by the president. The Telecommuting Law still needs a body of implementing rules and regulations stating its scope, processes and limitations. Those rules and regulations have come at last.
GMA News Online reports that over three months following the signing of a national Work from Home bill into law, it has finally gotten its implementing rules and regulations. The IRR was released by the overseeing department of the new Telecommuting Law (Republic Act 11165), the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). This Monday, April 15, the rules and regulations were duly signed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III. Following this, the IRR for RA 11165 will officially take effect upon its addition to the information on the official DOLE website, as well as publishing in a general circulation newspaper.
The official implementing rules and regulations for Telecommuting would give employers the power to offer a “work at home” option for employees, but only if they would volunteer or if presented to the company management via collective bargaining. Mutual consent of the employer and employee/s are needed. Bello adds that any telecommuting work agreement must not be considered as less than minimum standards according to labor laws. That means the home-working employee’s job is equal to his office-working co-employees, in terms of minimum working hours, overtime, rest days, fringe benefits, social welfare and tenure security.
Here are the arrangements to be enjoyed by all telecommuting employees in accordance to the implementing rules and regulations of the Work from Home law:
- Employees receive a 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.
- Employees have a right to rest periods, regular holidays, and special non-working days.
- Employees must have equivalent workload and performance standards as those of comparable workers at the employer’s premises.
- Employees must have same access to training and career development opportunities as those of comparable workers at the employer’s premises, and be subject to the same appraisal policies covering these workers.
- Employees should receive appropriate training on the technical (telecommunications and internet) equipment at their disposal, and the characteristics and conditions of working from home.
- Employees shall have the same collective rights as the workers at the employer’s premises (office employees), and shall not be barred from communicating with workers’ representatives.
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