Work From Home Bill Signed Into Law
The Republic Act 11165 also known as the Telecommuting Act, a bill that allows private-sector employees to work from home has been signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, January 10.
The purpose of this newly signed law is to uphold work-life balance among Filipino employees and to address the traffic congestion, according to Senator Joel Villanueva, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development. The Senator is also the principal author and sponsor of the law.
This work-from-home law is an optional employment set-up that will be dependent on the mutual agreement between the employer and their employees. However, the law dictates that despite this set-up, employers are still obliged to follow minimum labor standards on health, safety, schedule, workload, work hours, and social security. The law has also set “enough safeguards” for home-based workers such as equal pay, leave benefits, and promotion.
Senator Villanueva also stated in an interview:
“With this recently signed law, we can now have a stable and consistent legal framework that can provide an enabling environment to encourage participation and enforce compliance among enterprises, big or small. This is indeed a fitting New Year’s welcome for our dedicated Filipino workers.”
The Senator also added that the law will prompt the creation of a telecommuting pilot program in select industries for a period of not more than three years. This will allow the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to “determine the advantages and disadvantages of a telecommuting program in the Philippines.”
Under the Republic Act 11165, the labor department is tasked to create guidelines on the following:
- Rate of pay, including overtime and night shift differential, and other similar monetary benefits not lower than those provided in applicable laws, and collective bargaining agreements
- Right to rest periods, regular holidays, and special non-working days
- Equivalent workload and performance standards as those of comparable workers at the employer’s premises
- Access to training and career development opportunities as those of comparable workers at the employer’s premises, and be subject to the same appraisal policies covering these workers
- Appropriate training on the technical equipment at their disposal, and the characteristics and conditions of telecommuting
- Collective rights as workers at the employer’s premises, and shall not be barred from communicating with workers’ representatives
The DOLE will lead the drafting of the implementing rules and regulations.