House panel to companies: Use Telecommuting Act to make workers happy
MANILA, Philippines — The chairperson of the House of Representatives Committee on labor and employment has urged businesses to use the Republic Act No. 11165 or the Telecommuting Act of 2018 to come up with remote working systems, to make employees happier.
Rizal 4th District Rep. Fidel Nograles in a statement on Tuesday explained that employers can provide work from home schemes or alternative working setups that would give workers more family time — making them happier and possibly increasing productivity.
“With the release of the expanded rules for the telecommuting law, we hope that more employers will implement flexible working arrangements for their workers. Madalas ngang sabihin na (We usually say that) ’a happy worker is a productive worker’,” Nograles said.
“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,” he added.
R.A. No. 11165 has been enacted since 2019 to provide work-from-home schemes for private workers, but the concept gained popularity amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as several companies opted to let employees stay at home to avoid the disease.
However, even with a lot of the country’s workers gaining immunity due to COVID-19 vaccination, there have been calls to still maintain the work-from-home setups due to the convenience it brings — saving people time and money allotted to traveling to and from their workplaces.
“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,” he added.
Nograles’ statement comes just weeks after the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) released the revised implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Telecommuting Act through Department Order No. 237.
In the revised IRR, DOLE widened the scope of work-from-home schemes, now covering a “work-from-everywhere” system. This means remote offices are not confined to a worker’s home, as the IRR adds flexibility by acknowledging alternative workplace schemes.
Nograles said the revised IRR is a welcome and timely development as more workers return to their workplaces — especially in industries where telecommuting is impossible. The surge in workers, however, puts a strain on public transport systems.
“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 in the employers’ offices. Related to this, telecommuting workers would only be considered as field personnel “when their actual hours of work cannot be determined with reasonable certainty,” he said.
“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,” he added.
With reports from Alyssa Joy Quevedo, INQUIRER.net trainee