House strongly backs Telecommuting Act

Published June 9, 2018, 3:30 PM

by iManila Developer

By Ben Rosario

The House of Representatives has strongly backed proposals that would give the private sector option to work at home through telecommuting.

(Pixabay | Manila Bulletin)
(Pixabay | Manila Bulletin)

Congressmen unanimously approved on second reading House Bill 7402 or the proposed “Telecommuting Act” that gives citizens the option to work at home and allow private corporations to give such choice to employees.

The bill consolidates several measures authored by Representatives Alfred Vargas III (PDP-Laban, Quezon City); Sherwin Tugna (CIBAC partylist); Eric Martinez (PDP-Laban, Valenzuela City) and Dale Malapitan (NP Caloocan City).

Under the bill, telecommuting is defined as a flexible 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.

Vargas said the measure simply supports a “work from home” program for workers, saying that this scheme would be beneficial to both employees and employers especially to avoid traffic, high gasoline prices, and other expenses.

“It improves organization retention, employee performance, and customer

satisfaction. It also leads to a better health condition for employees as telecommuting lessens their exposure to pollution,” Vargas said.

He added, “it boosts employees’ morale and cuts their stress, thus leading to their increase in work productivity.”

According to Vargas Senate has already passed its version of the measure. It is authored by Senator Joel Villanueva.

HB 7402 bill provides that an employer in the private sector may offer a telecommuting program to its employees on a voluntary basis, and upon such terms and conditions as they may mutually agree upon.

The said terms and conditions shall 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, and entitlement to leave benefits.

In all cases, the employer shall provide the telecommuting employee with relevant written information in order to adequately apprise the individual of the terms and conditions of the telecommuting program and the responsibilities of the employee.

The bill mandates the employer to ensure the telecommuting employees are given the same treatment as that of comparable employees working at the employer’s premises.

Telecommuting employees shall 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.

They shall also have the right to rest periods by regulating the operation of their internet servers after normal working hours as well as during weekends, regular holidays and special non-working days.

Moreover, the employees shall have the same or equivalent workload and performance standards as those comparable workers at the employer’s premises. (Ben R. Rosario)