Duterte signs 'work from home' bill into law

President Duterte has signed into law a bill that allows private sector employees to "telecommute" or work from home

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed Republic Act No. 11165 or “An Act Institutionalizing Telecommuting as an Alternative Work Arrangement for Employees in the Private Sector.” This is a law institutionalizing the rights of employees in the private sector who work from their homes.

 “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.

Under 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.

The said terms and conditions shall not be less than the minimum labor standards set by law, and shall include compensable work hours, minimum number of work hours, overtime, rest days, and entitlement to leave benefits.

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.
The employees shall also have the same or equivalent workload and performance standards as those comparable workers at the employer’s premises.

They shall have the same access to training and career development opportunities as those of workers at the employer’s premises, and be subject to the same appraisal policies covering these workers.

They shall have the same collective rights as the workers at the employer’s premises, and shall not be barred from communicating with workers’ representatives.

The law gives the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) the task to "establish and maintain a telecommuting pilot program in select industries."

The new law also mandates Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, in coordination with the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council, to craft the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the measure.
Bello earlier voiced out his support for the law's passage as he underscored the digital technology's influence on the shift from the traditional and onsite locations to remote work sites.