While the majority of businesses shut down during the implementation of enhanced community quarantine in the country, some industries, particularly the business process outsourcing sector, remained in operations by allowing their workers to work from their homes.
However, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said that it had received complaints concerning additional expenses incurred by the workers to enable themselves to work from home.
To address this issue, DOLE Assistant Secretary Dominique Tutay clarifies that under the Telecommuting Act, employers should shoulder or reimburse the additional expenses that employees incurred during the work from home arrangement.
Tutay said that when DOLE that the BPO industry expressed willingness to address the complaints. Companies under the BPO industry will shoulder the costs of electricity, internet connection, and laptops to be used by their workers under a work-from-home arrangement.
She added that during the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), the ‘e-industry’ supplemented their budgets to provide this equipment for their staff and delivered it to them.
Tutay said that there are isolated cases of such nature, and the DOLE should be informed of such matters, adding that industry is willing to call the attention of the concerned company.
The Telecommuting Act
Under Republic Act No. 11165, or the Telecommuting Act, an employer in the private sector may offer a telecommuting program to its employees voluntarily, and upon such terms and conditions as they may mutually agree upon.
However, such terms and conditions shall not be less than the minimum labor standards set by law. These include compensable work hours, the minimum number of work hours, overtime, rest days, and entitlement to leave benefits.
The employer shall also ensure that employees on a telecommuting or work-from-home arrangements are given the same treatment as the other employees working at the employer’s premises.