Hontiveros to incoming economic managers: Fix ‘work from home’ impasse ASAP

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday, June 8, urged the incoming economic managers of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos jr. to resolve the “work from home” (WFH) impasse in the information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) sector and remove the anxiety of their investors and international clients.

Hontiveros said she hopes they can find a common ground with the IT-BPM sector early at this point, noting that the initial “return to on-site work” order issued in March has caused an uproar among BPO employees.

“Let's not forget that the IT-BPM sector has been the only consistent generator of jobs in the past two and a half years of the pandemic,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

“If we take care of the workers, the sector is set to continue attracting talent and growing. Working remotely also lessens the cost and cuts down on the stress of commuting, especially in Metro Manila,” she stressed.

The government, however, has yet to decide whether to allow BPOs and registered business enterprises (RBEs) to continue their WFH set up.

But Hontiveros said she agrees with the argument of BPO workers who end up spending more when they are required to show up on-site.

“I think those are very reasonable demands. They're already borne out by existing realities in the world of work. The workers have been productive in their WFH setup. They really optimized working online,” she pointed out.

“Malaking tulong sa budget nila sa pang-araw-araw kung ipagpapatuloy itong (This can help them with their everyday budget if we continue a) WFH setup," Hontiveros pointed out.

The government is currently allowing a hybrid 30 percent WFH setup until September 12, 2022, the so-called “end of the state of the COVID-19 calamity” as declared by President Duterte.

"Nawa'y pakinggan ng ating economic team ang mga manggagawa (I hope the next economic team will heed the call of our workers). Our workers have said their piece. The ball is now in the next administration's court. It's high time we start working under a 'better normal,' and not just a 'new normal’,” she said.

“Huwag sana tayong paatras sa mga dating klase ng mga labor laws or even tax laws na pipilitin talagang bumalik sa pre-pandemic working conditions. Maging flexible naman tayo (I hope we don’t revert back to outdated labor laws or even tax laws wherein we will insist to go back to pre-pandemic working conditions. We should learn how to be flexible),” the lawmaker appealed.