In order to reduce exposure and chances of contracting the coronavirus disease, the Philippine government encouraged establishments and its agencies to allow their employees to work remotely, as applicable.
Since March 2020, the majority of Filipino workers have been working from their homes. However, Senator Francis Tolentino noted that working from home tends to increase utility consumption, particularly electricity. He also added that some workers even purchased their own equipment so they can work efficiently even if they are not in their offices.
“These additional expenses are out of employees’ own pockets and for the benefit of the employer’s business,” Sen. Tolentino said.
In addition, the Manila Electric Co (Meralco) also said that each household should expect a 39 percent increase in electricity consumption ‘for every person on a work-from-home arrangement.’
Thus, the Senator filed a bill seeking a monthly allowance of at least P1,000 for all home-based workers to help them defray the additional expenses of working from home.
According to him, assistance must be provided to the employees in order to cushion the impact of this new normal and make this practice sustainable.
The bill also recommends a penalty of P100,000 for public and private agencies that fail to grant the said assistance. It also states that existing benefits should not be eliminated in place of the work-from-home allowance.
Tax cuts for electricity expenses
Earlier, Senator Tolentino proposed that the additional electricity expenses incurred by employees working from home should be deducted from their tax dues.
He revealed that he and Senate Energy Committee Chair Senator Sherwin Gatchalian will file a bill that will propose amendments to the National Internal Revenue Code that will include tax deductions for home-based workers.
He notes that employers were able to cut their costs after the majority of the workers are working from home.