Govt nixes extension of work-from-home for BPOs even as sector cites productivity

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 09 2022 12:45 PM | Updated as of Mar 09 2022 02:45 PM

MANILA - The Department of Finance on Wednesday said a Cabinet-level interagency board supports the decision of the Fiscal Incentives Review Board to disallow remote work for the majority of BPO firms in ecozones after March 31.

The FIRB upheld Resolution No. 19-21 which only allows WFH arrangements not exceeding 90 percent of the total workforce for registered Information Technology-Business Process Management (IT-BPM) enterprises until the end of the month.

The resolution also "denies the request of certain groups to implement extensions to the adoption of the WFH arrangement for the IT-BPM sector until after March 2022," the DOF said. 

Several groups from the BPO sector have called for an extension of the work-from-home arrangement, citing continued productivity even if their workers were not reporting to the office physically.

But Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez who is also the FIRB chairman said the WFH arrangement "is only a time-bound temporary measure adopted during the surge of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Given the increasing vaccination rate of Filipinos nationwide, we can now undertake safe measures for physical reporting of employees, including those working in the IT-BPM firms operating within ecozones and freeports,” he added.

He said the workers' return to office would pave the way for the recovery of micro, small and medium enterprises that depend on the sector.

IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) earlier said the country needs a more permanent hybrid work set up to help the sector retain its competitiveness. 

In the meeting held last Feb. 21, the FIRB also disapproved the request for the lifting of the moratorium on ecozone development in Metro Manila, the DOF said.

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