The Department of Labor and Employment has expanded the work from home scheme and called on employers and workers to mutually adopt telecommuting programs to help sustain the country’s economic recovery.
Department Order 237, signed by Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma on Friday, contained the revised implementing rules and regulations of the Telecommuting Law.
“These revised rules clarify and adequately address issues and concerns of the telecommuting sector. These aim to sustain our efforts for economic recovery,” Laguesma said.
Emphasizing the voluntary nature of the alternative work arrangement, Laguesma called on employers and employees to “jointly adopt and implement telecommuting programs that are based on voluntariness and mutual consent.”
The new rules stress 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 revised 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, including but not limited to the employee’s residence, co-working spaces or other spaces that allow for mobile working.
The guidelines also state that a “regular workplace” means the principal place of business or any branch office or physical premises established or provided by the employer where employees regularly report to or perform work.
Work performed in an alternative workplace shall be considered as work performed in the regular workplace of the employer, Laguesma said.
Under the revised rules, DOLE clarified that telecommuting employees are not considered field personnel, except when their actual hours of work cannot be determined with reasonable certainty.
“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.
The revised rules were the result of almost two months of consultations with concerned sectors.