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Diokno extends work-from-home setup for IT-BPM firms

The Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) has extended the 70-30 hybrid work arrangement for Philippine Economic Zone Authority-registered Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) locators.

In a statement on Friday, the Department of Finance (DOF) said Finance Secretary and FIRB chairperson Benjamin Diokno issued a memorandum provisionally extending the existing work-from-home (WFH) arrangement for the IT-BPM enterprises.

The Finance chief has deemed it necessary to retain the 70% on-site and 30% WFH arrangement, pursuant to FIRB Resolution No. 017-22, until the FIRB conclusively decides on PEZA’s request to extend the WFH setup, according to the DOF.

“Considering the September 12, 2022 expiration of the resolution, it is just fair that we extend the WFH arrangement for IT-BPM companies until we finalize a resolution addressing the issue,” said Diokno.

For her part, Finance Undersecretary Antonette Tionko said the topic on the WFH extension request of PEZA is already included in the list of agenda items for the next FIRB meeting set on September 15, 2022.

“Given the long-standing issue on the WFH extension for the IT-BPM sector, we hope the decision of the Board will finally bring clarity to the matter,” said Tionko, who also serves as the chairperson of the FIRB Technical Committee.

“We listen to our stakeholders and see the WFH arrangement to be the new business model of most of the registered business enterprises. Hence, the discussion on this matter in the next FIRB meeting requires a more permanent measure from the inter-agency body,” added Tionko.

The PEZA has long been advocating for the continuing of hybrid work arrangement.

The FIRB has earlier discontinued the 90% work-from-home and 10% onsite work arrangement for firms operation in economic zones.

Failure to comply with the FIRB’s directive will result in the removal of fiscal incentives such as income tax holidays and 5% tax on gross income earned.

Concentrix, the largest BPO in the country, decided to give up its tax incentives to carry on with its flexible work arrangements.

The IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) has said that tax perks are still among the main reasons why business process outsourcing (BPO) companies invest in the country, despite some firms opting to forego some of the fiscal incentives they enjoy in favor of continuing remote work arrangements for their employees.—AOL, GMA News