Duterte Signs Law Allowing Work-from-Home for Filipinos

President Rodrigo Duterte has approved a law that allows private-sector employees to work from home. The Republic Act 11165, also known as the Telecommuting Act, was approved by President Duterte on December 20 last year.

Telecommuting is a type of work arrangement that allows employees to work from home using various technologies. Since the pandemic began, not only Filipinos but many employees from all around the world have shifted to this new work set-up to help curb the spread of the coronavirus within communities.

Work-from-Home Law Creates ‘New Normal’ Work Setup for Filipinos

Duterte Signs Law Allowing Work-from-Home for Filipinos

The law provides that telecommuting is the prerogative of an employer and that it should be based on a mutual agreement regarding the terms of the work hours and the rest days, the PNA reported.

In all cases, the employer shall provide the telecommuting employee with relevant written information in order to adequately apprise the individual of the terms and conditions of the telecommuting program and the responsibilities of the employee,” the law stated.

The employer also must ensure that its employees who work remotely are treated the same as those who are working at the employer’s premises.

With this, all employees of telecommuting shall enjoy the following privileges:

  • get a rate of compensation that includes overtime and a night shift differential, as well as other equivalent monetary advantages that are not less than those provided by applicable laws and collective bargaining agreements;
  • right to rest intervals, scheduled holidays, and non-working days;
  • Workload and performance criteria must be comparable to those of comparable workers on the employer’s premises.
  • the same access to training and professional development opportunities as comparable workers on the employer’s premises, and be subject to the same assessment processes that apply to these individuals
  • get sufficient training on the technological equipment available to them, as well as the features and conditions of telecommuting; and
  • workers on the employer’s premises have the same collective rights as workers elsewhere, and they are not banned from contacting with workers’ representatives.

The law also required the Department of Labor to establish a pilot program that would allow certain industries to allow employees to work from home.

The agency tasked with overseeing the program’s implementation is responsible for carrying out a comprehensive study on the program’s various aspects.

The findings and recommendations of the study are then sent to Congress for approval.

The law would then take effect 15 days after it was published in the Official Gazette or any newspaper of general circulation.

A Reality Check

Around 85% of the office workers in the Philippines were shifted to a work from home arrangement after the outbreak of the pandemic, a study revealed.

It was initially believed that the WFH arrangement was beneficial for commuters who usually face long lines at Metro Manila. However, it’s not yet clear if this method will work properly.

It was also believed that this method would allow workers to spend more time with their families.

It’s been two years since the widespread use of WFH in the Philippines. The question that remains is whether it has resulted in productivity gains.

Jade Ibhar Cuambot, a clinical psychologist, said that many people who worked from home during the pandemic experienced fatigue due to the invisible boundary between work and home.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, many professionals have shifted their jobs to their homes.

The workplace has also experienced some difficulties with the influx of people working from home. According to human resources expert Jonathan De La Cerna, the arrangement has led to a reduction in certain kinds of interactions.

Meron ring mga hindi mo talaga pwedeng kunin for these kinds of vitual setup compared to a face-to-face setup o yung traditional na work setup,” he added.

According to the Need to Know report, staff leasing and coworking industries in the Philippines are already thinking about the future of the workplace.

Working from home has become a popular trend in the Philippines. Many people choose to do their jobs in various locations such as the beach, the mountains, and inside cafes, wherever resources are available to them.

In Q3 2021, more than 85% of long-term stays in the Philippines were in urban areas, according to a press release from Airbnb.

Out of the country’s many cities, some of the most searched for long-term stays were Metro Manila, Cebu, and Baguio.

The era of Hybrid Workplaces

A survey conducted in the Philippines revealed that 45% of Filipinos want to rent out their homes and go on trips.

Due to the various working set-ups in the country, employees have been demanding more flexibility. This has led to the emergence of hybrid workplaces.

This allows employees to work from their homes or a vacation place. They can also work from the office whenever they want.

The flexibility offered by hybrid workplaces allows employees to work from their home or a vacation place depending on the arrangement.

According to a report, employees who work in hybrid setups benefit from having a social interaction with their co-workers, especially to discuss work-related concerns.

The hybrid work setup is also recommended in the Philippines since many workers have a hard time accessing and working from their home office due to the lack of space and internet connectivity.

Remote Work Pros and Cons

A survey conducted by the Development Academy of the Philippines revealed that most Filipinos are highly productive when they work remotely.

Despite the advantages of hybrid workplaces, De La Cerna noted that they should not be used for all jobs. For instance, working from home may not be effective for some industries.

Here’s a news report shared by UNTV News / YouTube:

Indeed, there are various views when it comes to work setups post-pandemic. Now that people have seen its good and not-so-good sides, it’s up to the employers to decide what will be best for the company, their employees, and the overall economy. Meanwhile, it’s important to take the good and adopt it for everyone’s benefit for the better.

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