Dela Rosa, Tolentino file bill on P1-K allowance for telecommuting workers
MANILA, Philippines — Two senators on Monday filed a bill that would mandate employers to provide a monthly non-taxable allowance of at least P1,000 to telecommuting workers to aid in additional utility costs.
Senators Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa and Senator Francis Tolentino filed Senate Bill No. 1684, which seeks to expand the Telecommuting Act to provide incentives to telecommuting employees.
“The onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced Filipinos to embrace the concepts of telecommuting and working from home,” the senators said in the bill’s explanatory note.
“Working from home tends to increase utility consumption, particularly electricity. Residential energy use has risen due to more people staying at home. These additional expenses are out of the employee’s own pockets and for the benefit of the employer’s business,” it further read.
The senators cited a study by power distributor Meralco, which showed that electric consumption can reach 39 percent in kilowatt per hour “for every person on a work-from-home arrangement.”
This is equivalent to a P770-increase on monthly bills or around P9,243 annually, they noted.
The senators also pointed to the surge in electricity bills since the start of the pandemic and the implementation of quarantine protocols in March.
“Stories of individuals shocked by the sudden increase of their bills have spread all over the news as families used to pay only P2,000 every month for electricity now have to pay 9,000,” the senators said.
This, according to Dela Rosa and Tolentino, is “attributed to the fact that people are spending most of their time at home, children are using online learning facilities, and employees are now forced to or are voluntarily working from home.”
“Assistance must be provided to the employees in order to cushion the impact of this new normal and make this practice sustainable,” they added. [ac]
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