Employers urged to implement alternative workplace schemes

By Jose Cielito Reganit

October 4 2022, 1:46 pm

MANILA – Following the release of the revised implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 11165 or the Telecommuting Act of 2018, the chair of the House Committee on Labor and Employment on Tuesday called on employers to fully support the flexible working arrangements provided for by the law.

“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 (It is often said that) `a happy worker is a productive worker’," Rizal 4th District Rep. Fidel 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 noted.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) released the revised IRR of the Telecommuting law through Department Order No. 237 last Sept. 16.

The DOLE said the revised IRR was released in response to the evolving nature of work due to the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly with the broader adoption of work-from-home and other alternative workplace schemes.

Under the revised IRR, 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.

Telecommuting workers would only be considered as field personnel "when their actual hours of work cannot be determined with reasonable certainty."

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.

According to the IRR, the telecommuting employee should also have the same or equivalent workload and performance standards as those of comparable workers at the employer’s premises. However, the parties may mutually agree to different performance standards that may be more appropriate given the location of the employee.

Nograles said the release of the revised IRR is timely amid the steady rise in the cost of goods and problems in public transport.

“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,” he said. “This is an arrangement that will benefit all concerned.” (PNA)