Gatchalian to gov’t agencies, private sector: Engage in WFH setup to save fuel, transport costs

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday, June 22 encouraged more government agencies and the private sector to engage in flexible work arrangements to save on fuel and transportation costs as the price of oil continue to climb as a result of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Gatchalian said this would also improve the quality of life of employees and help them with cost savings as they are overwhelmed by the high prices of fuel and basic commodities.

“Our office may look empty for some but we’re practicing work-from-home (WFH) arrangement to save on gas, avoid traffic congestion, save time, and eliminate daily commutes,” Gatchalian said in a statement.

“This is the new normal and working remotely can prove to be as productive as those working in an office setting,” he said.

Gatchalian also noted that more and more public transportation have chosen to stop operations due to the increasing price of fuel.

Even before the Civil Service Commission (CSC) issued a resolution allowing flexible work arrangements in government offices, Gatchalian noted that some companies in the private sector has already adopted a WFH setup.

In order to encourage more businesses to adopt flexible work arrangement, Gatchalian said he will file a measure proposing tax incentives for employees on a WFH or telecommuting program and income tax deduction for employers.

The senator noted that under Republic Act No. 11165, or the “Telecommuting Act,” 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.

Gatchalian, together with Sen. Francis Tolentino, earlier filed Senate Bill No. 1706, which proposes a P25.00 reduction from the taxable income of an employee for every hour of work rendered under a WFH arrangement.

The senators also proposed to make non-taxable the allowances and other benefits of employees covering expenses necessary for telecommuting, not exceeding P2,000 per month.

Gatchalian said that under the bill, employers, for their part, may claim an additional 50 percent income tax deduction for allowances granted within the specified ceiling.