Senator Grace Poe backs work-from-home for gov't workers

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 14 2022 01:53 PM

MANILA - Senator Grace Poe on Tuesday said the government should allow work-from-home setups for civil servants without compromising the delivery of service as the country reels from rising transport costs. 

"As frontliners in the delivery of basic services, our government workers need as much support to deal with the soaring prices of essential goods and the current lack of public transport," Poe said in a statement.

Poe issued the statement as fuel prices continue to rise following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Transport fares in the NCR were also recently hiked by P1. 

"We hope that agency heads, in consultation with stakeholders, can sit down and formulate vetted guidelines in order to give our state employees greater flexibility in doing their jobs with the same, if not greater productivity and efficiency," she added.

Poe said the call was made after the Civil Service Commission issued a resolution institutionalizing an adaptable setup in government.

The resolution allows for "flexiplace", compressed work week, skeleton force, work shifting, flexitime or a combination of the above mentioned, she said.

This is also in recognition that the current public transport "barely meets" the need of commuters as evidenced by the long lines in public transport and the government's free-ride programs, Poe said. 

"Flexibility is the future of work, and for many workers including those in the private sector, it could mean staving off hunger while still doing their job well," Poe said.

The lawmaker had earlier expressed support for the Telecommuting Act for the private sector. It was signed into law in 2019. 

In the private sector, the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry is among those pushing for a hybrid work setup. Stakeholders claimed remote work does not diminish competitiveness.

Concentrix, among the country's leading BPO firms, said it would waive tax incentives in order to continue the WFH arrangement for its workers.

FUEL EXCISE TAX SUSPENSION

Poe also reiterated the call for the suspension of fuel excise tax as world crude oil prices skyrocketed.

Several driver groups have also questioned the non-suspension of excise taxes on fuel despite the Dubai crude breaching the suspension threshold of $80 per barrel under the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law.

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