The implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Telecommuting Act, otherwise known as the Work from Home Law, is now in place, allowing employees from the private sector to work in other places aside from their offices by using telecommunication tools and computer technology.
Signed by Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III, the IRR of Republic Act 11165 will take effect 15 days after its publication in major newspapers of general circulation and posting in the DOLE website.
According to the IRR, a telecommuting program may be offered to the employees of a private company on a voluntary basis or through a collective bargaining agreement.
Furthermore, the IRR states that the new work scheme shall be based on voluntariness and mutual consent of the employer and the employees, taking into consideration the nature of work to be accomplished. It will also be a management prerogative or a collective bargaining option.
Bello emphasized that the work arrangement must not be less than the minimum labor standards set by law, and shall include compensable work hours; a minimum number of work hours; overtime; rest days; entitlement to leave benefits; social welfare benefits, and security of tenure.
Nonetheless, the effective implementation of the telecommuting program depends on the adherence of both employer and the employees to a mutually agreed policy or agreement on telecommuting.
Moreover, the IRR contains applicable code of conduct and provisions on performance evaluation and assessment; appropriate alternative workplace; use and cost of equipment; observance of data privacy, and occupational safety and health, among other things.
Private companies who will be adopting the telecommuting work arrangement shall notify the DOLE field or provincial office having jurisdiction over them.
The Telecommuting Act, which was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte, allows flexible working arrangements to private sector employees through working from home or anywhere outside the office through telecommuting.
Work arrangements for employees working from home
The said law provides for the following arrangement for telecommuting employees;
- Receive a 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;
- Same 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;
- Receive appropriate training on the technical equipment at their disposal and the characteristics and conditions of telecommuting; and
- Same collective rights as the workers at the employer’s premises, and shall not be barred from communicating with workers’ representatives.