'Right to disconnect' from work: Some pros and cons

Isabelle Lee, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 03 2017 07:46 PM | Updated as of Feb 06 2017 10:52 AM

MANILA - The bill seeking to grant employees the right to disconnect from work-related electronic communications after work hours does not apply to all sectors, particularly public offices, media, and hospitals, Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo said Friday.

House Bill 4721 does not prevent employers from communicating with employees after work hours, but only prohibits employers from reprimanding or sanctioning employees should they not reply, Castelo said.

Employers have the responsibility to establish the hours when employees can opt not to respond, he added.

The lawmaker said the proposed measure is a "game-changer," especially in the age of digitalization, and the escalation of "undeclared labor."

The bill's basic component is simply to respect the rights of employees, he said.

The bill was patterned after a similar law already in place in France.

Castelo said he is optimistic the bill will be enacted into law, drawing support from several senators including Senator Sonny Angara, Senator JV Ejercito, and Senator Win Gatchalian.


Sergio Ortiz-Luis, honorary chairman of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP), however, said the bill is an administrative nightmare and will disrupt salary standardization in the country.

Laws should not transgress managerial prerogative such as work hours and conditions of employees, Ortiz-Luis said.

The Deparment of Labor and Employment would face difficulty crafting the internal rules and regulations, and identifying what sectors should be included and exempted if the bill is passed into law, he added.

Ortiz-Luis also urged lawmakers to come up with more sensible laws, saying they cannot just "cherry-pick" the laws of other countries and apply them to the Philippines.