Lawmaker wants ‘flexible’ 48-hour working week for employees

Robie de Guzman   •   March 22, 2019   •   1111

Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte is pushing to amend the Philippine Labor Code to remove the limiting “normal work hours” of eight hours a day for five days to a more flexible work duration.

Villafuerte filed the House Bill 9048 seeking to amend the Article 83 of the Presidential Decree no. 442 or the Labor Code of the Philippines, as amended.

HB 9048 wants to allow employers the option to implement a type of flexible working arrangement that fits the needs of their company and their employees.

The bill also proposes to put a ceiling on the maximum number of working hours to 48 hours per week “in order to protect the well-being of employees.”

“This means that employees may clock in to work at any time as long as they complete the required number of hours,” the lawmaker said.

Under the proposal, the normal working hours of any employee shall not exceed eight hours a day except when the exigency of business operations or national emergency requires the adoption of alternative work arrangements subject to conditions as may be predetermined by the Secretary of the Labor and Employment.

“The bill intends to ease the worries of employees in commuting to work by allowing alternative working arrangements,” Villafuerte explained.

The measure also hopes to help “ease and decongest the traffic situation in Greater Manila and lessen the stress of both citizens and the government.”

Villafuerte said the proposal is aimed at adding to the intent of the recently-enacted Republic Act 11165 or the Telecommuting Act, which allows workers to clock in hours through partial or total substitution of computers of telecommunication technologies.

“It is this representation’s hope that this proposed bill adds to the intent of the Telecommuting Act in providing employees that opportunity to be productive in the workforce no matter the situation they may find themselves in,” he stressed. – Robie de Guzman

Bill mandating employers to offer work from home set up filed in Senate

Robie de Guzman   •   June 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – A bill seeking to make work from home arrangement a mandatory option offered to employees has been filed in the Senate.

In filing Senate Bill No. 1448, Senator Imee Marcos noted that alternative working arrangements are becoming a new normal in offices due to the continuing threat of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Marcos said her bill proposes to introduce amendments to the Republic Act 11165 or the Telecommuting Act to make working from home a mandatory option for employees whose physical presence in the workplace is not necessary for the completion of his or her job, and who have been in the company for at least a year.

“Should the physical presence of the employee be necessary for a particular task, the employer may require his/her attendance in the workplace, within office hours and during weekdays, but not more than twice a week,” Marcos said in her proposal.

Telecommuting is defined in the present law as a work arrangement that allows a worker to perform his or her tasks from an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunication and/or computer technologies.

“Various sectors, including the labor sector, have to make major modifications in their policy to ensure compliance with social distancing measures,” Marcos said in the explanatory note of the bill.

“This bill, this seeks to strengthen the Telecommuting Law by making it mandatory, and not merely optional, for employers to offer telecommuting as an alternative to employees whose physical presence in the workplace is not absolutely essential to the performance of their functions,” she added.

The measure also states that a contract of employment should clearly indicate the eligibility of a given position for telecommuting.

“Clearly, a ‘new normal’ of social distancing, new hygiene standards and limited physical contact shall prevail into the future,” Marcos said.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Telecommuting Act on December 20, 2018, after Senator Joel Villanueva pushed for its passage in the previous Congress.

Malacañang: Telecommuting Act will ease traffic problems in Metro Manila

Marje Pelayo   •   January 11, 2019

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang is confident that the newly-signed
Telecommuting Act or the ‘work-from-home’ law will minimize traffic problems in major thoroughfares in Metro Manila.

The said bill, according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, will lower the number of employees suffering from heavy traffic situations on EDSA and nearby provinces.

The new law allows employees to work at the convenience of their homes or any alternative location with the aid of communication technology.

Panelo said, President Rodrigo Duterte’s signing of the bill implies his recognition of the country’s emerging and innovative workforce.

Panelo added that the government hopes home-based or remote-based employees will be given similar benefit entitlements as the regular office-based employees.

Malacañang trusts that the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will deliver its mandate in implementing the said measure. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Lower House passes ‘work from home’ bill

Marje Pelayo   •   May 29, 2018

QUEZON CITY, Philippines – The House of Representatives passes on third and final reading the bill that will allow employees in the private sector to work from home using telecommunications or computer technologies.

On Monday, May 28, lawmakers approved House Bill 7402 or the Telecommuting Act which protects home-based workers. The Senate already agreed on the measure on May 22, 2017.

The bill provides flexible working arrangement between employer and employee. However, it requires a telecommuting program not less than the minimum labor standards set by law which include minimum number of work hours, compensable work hours as well as overtime, rest days and leave benefits. Employers must also ensure that home-based employees are treated the same way as office-based workers.

Once the two versions are reconciled and ratified, the measure will be sent to President Rodrigo Duterte for signature. – UNTV News & Rescue


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