The President signed the Telecommuting Act a few days before Christmas day last year. Telecommuting is a work arrangement where employees are allowed to perform their tasks outside of the office, often from home, or a location close to home. One only needs to have a stable internet connection, a laptop, and a mobile phone – equipment that will help him deliver his assignments as if he were working in an office. It is called telecommuting because instead of traveling to the office, you now only travel (or commute) via telecommunication links such as phone, email, or video conferencing.
Now some of us may have already done this in the past – I know I have! That is why I am glad that telecommuting is now an official policy that all private companies and businesses can implement.
The law, now known as Republic Act 11165, provides employers the option to have their workers perform their jobs from home on a voluntary basis. As mentioned above, this is nothing new to Manila-based employees and maybe to some who work in private establishments based in the provinces. Unbeknownst to us, telecommuting is a widely accepted work policy in other parts of the world. Below are some interesting facts we gathered from the GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com and FlexJobs.com regarding telecommuting:
- About 4.3 million employees worldwide (3.2% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time.
- Some Fortune 1000 companies have ‘face-lifted’ their office interiors to consider the fact that most, if not all, employees will be working outside of their building at one point.
Aren’t you glad telecommuting has finally been turned into law in our country this year?
While we wait for the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of this law, we summarized four important things we all need to know and understand the Telecommuting Act:
- Private business and company employers can offer their employees the telecommuting program on a voluntary basis.
- The work-from-home arrangement between the employer and his employees must be made based on minimum labor standards. All work hours (within the work-from-home agreement) must be properly logged, monitored, and compensated.
- All other wage policies apply to the work rendered in telecommuting such as overtime, rest days, and leave entitlements. They must also be given night shift differentials, regular holidays, and special non-working holidays.
- Their workload must still be corresponding to their job description, not more than (or less than) what their contemporaries at the office are assigned with. They should be provided with proper training and afforded the same career development opportunities.
The telecommuting scheme will be tested by the DOLE through a pilot program for selected industries. The test will not last more than 3 years.
What are your thoughts on this new labor law? We’d be glad to hear from you!