Gatchalian urges work-from-home setup to save fuel, transport costs
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday urged more government agencies and private companies to work flexibly to save on fuel and transportation costs.
In a statement, Gatchalian said adopting a work-from-home (WFH) setup will “improve” the employees’ quality of life.
“Our office may look empty for some, but we’re practicing work from home arrangement to save on gas, avoid traffic congestion, save time, and eliminate daily commutes. This is the new normal, and working remotely [can be] as productive as those working in an office setting,” he said.
“Malaking kaluwagan ito lalo na sa panahon ngayong aabot na sa isang daang piso kada litro ang produktong petrolyo at tumataas ang pamasahe. Dumarami na rin ngayon ang hindi bumibiyaheng pampublikong sasakyan dahil sa walang habas na pagtaas ng presyo ng langis,” he added.
(This is a huge relief, especially now that petroleum products are reaching one hundred pesos per liter and the fares are going up. The number of non-commuting public transport is also increasing due to the relentless oil price hikes.)
Gatchalian issued the call after the Civil Service Commission (CSC) recently allowed government offices to implement alternative work arrangements.
The senator pointed out that even before this, some companies in the private sector have already adopted a work-from-home arrangement for their employees.
He cited Republic Act No. 11165 or the Telecommuting Act, which institutionalized “telecommuting as an alternative work arrangement for employees in the private sector.”
Gatchalian also said he intended to pursue his earlier proposal to grant tax incentives to employees who work from home and income tax deductions for employers to promote a flexible work arrangement.
Senate Bill No. 1706, which Gatchalian co-authored, proposed a P25.00-reduction from an employee’s taxable income for every hour of work rendered under a WFH setup.
The measure also sought to make monthly telecommuting allowances and benefits not exceeding P2,000 nontaxable.
Under the bill, the senator noted that employers might also claim an additional 50-percent income tax deduction for allowances granted within a specified ceiling.
According to Gatchalian, this proposal aims to encourage employers to provide their employees with their much-needed allowances while the tax deductions proposed by the bill will increase the take-home pay of workers. — Iliana Padigos, trainee
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