Remote working arrangements pushed anew to ease traffic

September 18, 2022, 5:53 pm

<p>Senator Win Gatchalian<em> (Photo courtesy of Senate PRIB)</em></p>

Senator Win Gatchalian (Photo courtesy of Senate PRIB)

MANILA – In a bid to ease worsening traffic congestion in Metro Manila, Senator Win Gatchalian has renewed his call for increased adoption of remote working arrangements.

He said the program, if adopted by a significant number of employers, could form part of solutions to address the perennial problem of traffic bottlenecks in metropolitan areas.

Recent research by insurance technology site GoShorty showed Filipinos spend about 98 hours or more than four days trapped in Metro Manila’s traffic jams every year.

To encourage companies to implement work-from-home arrangements or telecommuting, the government should provide tax incentives for those that will adopt the program, according to Gatchalian.

“We want to incentivize those who opt-in to this program because of the great benefits it will have on our people,” Gatchalian said in a statement on Sunday.

Under Senate Bill 1149, employees shall be entitled to a deduction of PHP25 from their taxable income for every hour of service rendered under a work-from-home (WFH) or telecommuting arrangement.

Also, allowances or other benefits not exceeding PHP2,000 per month provided by employers to their employees to cover expenses necessary for WFH or telecommuting arrangements shall be considered a non-taxable benefit.

“The work-from-home revolution, which has been accelerated by the pandemic, has numerous advantages that benefit not just the workers concerned. A major benefit of this program is that it will ease traffic congestion especially as in-person classes resume and many businesses are now in full operation," Gatchalian said.

Aside from reducing traffic congestion, remote working arrangements would also cut fuel demand as well as enhance employee productivity as evidenced by various studies, he pointed out.

“Ang remote working arrangement ay nagpapalawak ng work-life balance ng ating mga empleyado. Bukod sa nagpapataas ito ng productivity at mas nagiging competitive ang mga kompanyang nagpapatupad nito, nakakatulong pa itong mapabuti ang kalusugan ng ating mga kababayan (Remote working arrangement expands the work-life balance of our employees. Aside from increasing productivity and enhancing the competitiveness of companies implementing this scheme, it also helps improve the health of our fellowmen),” the senator said. (PNA)