Duterte signs telecommuting law for private sector


EMPLOYEES in the private sector would soon be able to work from home or any workplace outside their office with the signing by President Rodrigo Duterte of a new law that allows telecommuting as an alternative work arrangement.

Under Republic Act (RA) 11165 or Telecommuting Act, an employer in the private sector may offer a telecommuting program to its employees on a "voluntary" basis and upon terms and conditions that will not be less than the minimum labor standards set by law.

The law directs the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) to establish a telecommuting pilot program in select industries that will last for a period of not more than three years.

The DOLE is tasked to do the baselining; scoping and profiling research work prior to the telecommuting program's implementation; regular quarterly monitoring; and evaluation.

At the end of the program, the Labor department is instructed to submit a report to Congress on its findings.

The law defines telecommuting as a kind of work arrangement that "allows an employee in the private sector to work from an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunication and/or computer technologies."


Posted by SunStar Philippines on Thursday, January 10, 2019

RA 11165 provides that employers should ensure that telecommuting employees would be treated as same as workers "working at the employer's premises.

Telecommuting employees, according to the newly-signed law, should receive overtime and night shift differential pay, and other similar monetary benefits not lower than those provided in applicable laws and collective bargaining deals.

Individuals working under a telecommuting program should also have the right to rest periods, regular holidays, and special non-working days.

They should also have the same workload and performance standards, as well as equal access to training and career development opportunities given to comparable workers at the employer's premises.

Telecommuting workers should also receive appropriate training on the technical equipment at their disposal, and the characteristics and conditions of the alternative work arrangement.

RA 11165 also emphasizes that telecommuting employees should have the same collective rights as the workers at the employer's premises, and would not be barred from communicating with workers' representatives.

"The employer shall also ensure that measures are taken to prevent the telecommuting employee from being isolated from the rest of the working community in the company by giving the telecommuting employee the opportunity to meet with colleagues on a regular basis, adn allowing access to company information," the law states.

Duterte's law also mandates the employer to take appropriate measures to protect data used and processed by the telecommuting employee for professional purposes.

Under the law, a telecommuting employee must be informed about relevant laws and company rules concerning data protection to ensure that confidential and proprietary information are protected at all times.

The parties to a telecommuting work arrangement would be primarily responsible for its administration, RA 11165 states.

A copy of RA 11165, signed by Duterte on December 20 last year, was released on Thursday, January 10. (SunStar Philippines)


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