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Updates For WFH Law: Allowance, Shorter Work Week, And More Proposed Amendments
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  • In 2018, studies showed that mothers were facing so much discrimination in the workplace that they were forced them to quit their jobs. In 2020, these same mothers were working from home and facing a new set of challenges: becoming a tutor, cleaner, and referee to their own children (and sometimes husbands) all at once. Parents may be taking on more responsibility at home, despite being able to spend more time with family.

    Manila Standard reported on a survey that found “a lack of flexible working arrangements (32 percent) and struggling to balance demands from clients and colleagues as well as family life (58 percent) were some of the answers provided by working women and new mothers when asked about challenges faced at work.” It also detailed that, “over 50 percent of working Filipina women surveyed feel that they miss out on crucial career milestones after having children.”

    As a new president has sworn in and the new administration begins, working from home remains a top concern. Here’s an update on what you need to know about the Act Institutionalizing Telecommuting As An Alternative Work Arrangement For Employees In The Private Sector.

    Working From Home, according to the law

    R.A. 11165, also known as the Telecommuting Act or Work From Home Law, has become more relevant since the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as alert levels are lifted in Metro Manila, returning to work has also begun. Nevertheless, private employers continue with WFH set-ups as inflation and the rise of fuel prices plague the economy.

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    Telecommuting is defined as “work from an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunications and/or computer technologies.” Former President Rodrigo Duterte signed it into law in late 2018 under the authorship of Senator Joel Villanueva. 

    The Act is initially for the benefit of the private sector, but as the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) periods were extended, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) made a resolution to allow Flexible Work Arrangements for government offices in 2022.

    Is Work From Home mandatory?

    No. The law provides that a private employer must voluntarily create an agreement or provision for telecommuting or remote work.

    Is Work From Home permanent?

    No. The private employer may decide to operate the business back at the office.

    Does an employee have to go back to the office to receive benefits or advantages?

    No. According to the law, a person working from home has the right to receive fair treatment as an employee working onsite.

    RELATED: 6 Work-At-Home Moms Reveal How Much They Make With Their Online Jobs

    Do I get a communication allowance for my Internet when I work from home?

    This is not mandated by law. It's up to the private employer to provide this.

    Are employers obliged to provide a laptop or other devices for me?

    If the private employer imposes the work from home set-up, yes. However, other online jobs require you to have your own laptop, an Internet connection of at least 3 mbps, and a designated workplace before applying for the job.

     

    What other parents are reading

    WFH Amendments and Revisions

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    1. Shorter Work Week

    Villanueva continues to petition for amendments to the Labor Code. Recently, he authored Senate Bill No. 153, which proposes a shorter work week. “It is our job to empower them into contributing to the national economy without the burden of fuel prices and the daily commute. This also gives our workers the opportunity to spend their wages on needs other than transportation costs," he said in March 2022.

    2. P1,000 Tax Allowance -- Per Week

    Senator Win Gatchalian has also urged more private companies and government offices to adopt a flexible work arrangement. His main motivation, he says, is “to save fuel and transportation costs and improve the quality of life of employees.”

    Gatchalian is the co-author of Senate Bill No. 1706, which proposes that P25 be deducted from the taxable income per hour of an employee working from home. At the standard 40 hours per week, that would be a non-taxable deduction of P1,000 per week.

    The proposed Senate Bill also provides that the allowance and benefits of the employee for any expenses related to telecommuting should not be taxed, granted it does not exceed P2,000 per month. Employers, in turn, could claim an additional 50 percent deduction of income tax.

    3. Resting Is A Right

    Senator Francis Tolentino has recently passed Senate Bill No. 2475, also dubbed the Workers’ Rest Law, to the House of Representatives for review. In this proposal, he aims to protect negative effects of working from home on the well-being of employees, such as being “virtually always at the beck and call of employers.”

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    Thus, SB 2475 focuses on penalizing employers that violate rest hours or even reprimand their employees for not responding immediately during non-work hours. The bill also proposes jail time and a fine of no less that P100,000 for employers that discriminate against employees that try to assert their rights.

    TopGear.com.ph reports that Tolentino has also proposed a P1,000 monthly non-taxable allowance to cover expenses related to remote work.

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