Filipinos a step closer to having 'work from home' policy

MANILA, Philippines – "Work from home" could soon be a reality for Filipinos working in the private sector after the House of Representatives approved a bill protecting home-based workers on Monday, May 28. 

With a vote of 239-0-0, lawmakers approved House Bill (HB) No. 7402 or the Telecommuting Act on 3rd and final reading. Senators previously gave their nod to the bill on May 22, 2017. 

HB 7402 seeks to allow workers in the private sector to resort to "telecommuting," which the measure defines as a flexible working arrangement where the employee may work in an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunication or computer technologies. 

This is more commonly known as a "work from home" policy. (READ: What telecommuting requires)

Under the bill, the telecommuting program must 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.

Private sector companies must also ensure their employees who work from home are given the same treatment as those who work at the employers' premises.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) would be tasked to establish and maintain a pilot "work from home" program in select industries, which shall last for a period of not more than 3 years. DOLE would then submit a report to Congress on its findings at the end of the program implementation.

The "work from home" bill is seen to help ease the worsening traffic situation in cities.

Now that both chambers of Congress have approved the measure, the bill would have to go through the bicameral conference committee so both the House and the Senate can reconcile their versions.

The reconciled version of the bill would then be ratified by the two chambers before the measure can be brought to Malacañang for President Rodrigo Duterte's signature.

Congress, however, only has two session days left before it goes on break. – Rappler.com

Photo of woman from Shutterstock

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the Senate and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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