MANILA, Sept 19 (Mabuhay) — The Department of Labor and Employment on Sunday urged employers and workers to adopt remote work programs as it revised the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Telecommuting Law.

(MNS photo)

In a statement, the DOLE said Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma signed last Friday Order No. 237, which revises the IRR of Republic Act 11165 or the Telecommuting Law.

The revised rules were the result of nearly two months of consultations with concerned sectors, the DOLE said, adding that the revisions passed scrutiny from the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council.

The council is a consultative body presided by the labor secretary and composed of labor and employer representatives, according to the DOLE.

“These revised rules clarify and adequately address issues and concerns of the telecommuting sector,” Laguesma said.

Under the new rules, alternative work arrangements — such as remote work — are voluntary, Laguesma said as he urged employers and employees to “jointly adopt and implement telecommuting programs that are based on… mutual consent.”

The move to expand the work-from-home scheme aims to sustain efforts of the country’s economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic, he added.

The revised IRR mandates that “the terms and conditions of telecommuting shall not be less than minimum labor standards, and shall not in any way diminish or impair the terms and conditions of employment contained in any applicable company policy or practice, individual contract, or collective bargaining agreement.”

The new rules define “alternative workplace” as “any location where work, through the use of telecommunication and/or technology, is performed at a location away from the principal’s place of business of the employer.”

These include the employee’s residence, co-working spaces or other spaces that allow for mobile working, among others.

The rules state that work performed in alternative workplaces shall be considered work performed in regular workplaces.

Under the new rules, telecommuting employees are not considered field personnel, “except when their actual hours of work cannot be determined with reasonable certainty,” the DOLE said.

“All time that an employee is required to be on duty, and all time that an employee is permitted or suffered to work in the alternative workplace shall be counted as hours worked,” it added.

A recent study found that the adoption of hybrid work setups improved the general well-being of Filipino workers.  (MNS)