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DOLE releases rules for work from home law

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has released the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Telecommuting Act which will allow private sector employees to work outside their offices with the use of telecommunication or computer technologies.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed the IRR of Republic Act 11165, or the Telecommuting Act, which shall take effect 15 days after its publication in a newspaper of general circulation and posting in the DOLE website.

Based on the IRR, an employer in the private sector may offer a telecommuting program to its employees on a voluntary basis or as a result of collective bargaining.

It stated that the new work scheme will be a management prerogative or collective bargaining option, as well as based on the voluntariness and mutual consent of the employer and employee, taking into account the nature of the work to be done.

“The work arrangement must not be less than the minimum labor standards set by law, and shall include compensable work hours, a minimum number of work hours, overtime, rest days, entitlement to leave benefits, social welfare benefits, and security of tenure,” Bello said.

He added that to effectively implement the telecommuting program, the employer and employees shall adhere to and be guided by the mutually agreed policy or telecommuting agreement.

The IRR includes the applicable code of conduct and performance evaluation and assessment; appropriate alternative workplace; use and cost of equipment; observance of data privacy, and occupational safety and health, among others.

It also stated companies who will adopt the telecommuting work arrangement must notify DOLE’s nearest field or provincial office.

Under the law, all telecommuting employees will enjoy the following arrangements:

- 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

- Right to rest periods, regular holidays, and special non-working days

- Equivalent workload and performance standards as those of comparable workers at the employer’s premises

- Same access to training and career development opportunities as those of comparable workers at the employer’s premises, and be subject to the same appraisal policies covering these workers

- Receive appropriate training on the technical equipment at their disposal, and the characteristics and conditions of telecommuting, and

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

—Amita Legaspi/KG, GMA News