Duterte signs work-from-home bill
President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law Republic Act 11165 or the telecommute bill allowing employees of the private sector to work from home while enjoying the benefits of regular workers.
RA 1165 aims to safeguard the rights of home-based personnel ensuring that they receive equal pay, chances of promotion and leave benefits. The measure also seeks to promote work-life balance under a flexible and mutual arrangement between the employees and employers.
The law also prompts the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to create a telecommuting pilot program in select industries to determine its advantages and disadvantages.
Definition and provisions
Telecommute, as defined by the law, is a type of employment arrangement which allows employees in the private sector to work from an alternative place using computer technologies and/or telecommunication.
Under the law, work-from-home staff and those working at the employer’s premises are entitled to receive equal benefits as follows:
* Workload and performance standards and equal access to career development and training opportunities
* Training on technical equipment and conditions and characteristics of the alternative work arrangement
* Communication with workers’ representatives
* Opportunity to meet with colleagues on a regular basis
* Access to company information
Private sector employers may offer the telecommuting program on a voluntary basis with terms and conditions no less than the standards of the Philippine Labor Law.
Advantages of working from home
Telecommute agreement is not new to many Filipinos especially those working for offshore companies. With improvements in communication and computer technology, Filipino workers and their employers are more likely to reap economic, social and personal perks including:
• Less stress, more savings – Telecommute can save employees from enduring long and stressful trips from their home to the office. Employees no longer have to spend much on transport since there are no time and traffic jams to beat. Indeed, no more pressures of “time-in”, “time-out”, and late and absent remarks that are sometimes computed for salary deduction.
• Work-life balance – Employees can save an average of three hours daily which can be spent on worthwhile activities with their loved ones instead of suffering long hours of commute in cramped and crowded public vehicles.
• Increased retention – Relocation, having a family and all other personal life changes will never be a reason for any valued employee to leave the company. Happy employees who will not endure huge adjustments in travel are more likely to stay.
• Increased productivity – Employee productivity is one of the major positive results of the telecommute arrangement. In recent studies, those who work from home actually complete the full shift compared to those who travel from home to office. The new arrangement can resolve issues on absenteeism, tardiness, and desire to leave early to avoid the rush hour.
• Cost-effective – Companies can save money on rents and lease of workspaces. They can also cut on electrical and other utility bills. Instead of leasing a large area, companies can opt to stay in offices just enough to accommodate office workers at a more reasonable price.
Telecommute is an employee privilege that can improve everyone’s life. Working from home is a financially rewarding arrangement especially if employees can learn to organize their time, prioritize their tasks and ensure discipline.