MANILA - The Telecommuting Act of 2017 also known as the work-from-home bill is a step closer to becoming a law pending the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte, a lawmaker said Thursday.
The Senate has ratified the bicameral conference committee report earlier this month.
Under the measure, employers are encouraged to allow private-sector employees to telecommute or work from their homes, the senator said.
The bill that seeks to promote work-life balance will also ensure that the rights of home-based workers are protected by giving them equal pay, leave benefits and promotion like their counterparts, the office of Senator Joel Villanueva said in a statement.
In the ratified bicam report, the arrangement will remain as employers' prerogative based on a mutual agreement.
"We are now one step closer to our goal--to produce a cohesive and strong policy that affords our workers meaningful work-life balance and an option to work under a flexible work arrangement," Villanueva said.
Villanueva, who also chairs the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development, said while the program is optional "it should not be less than the minimum labor standards set by law including that for health and safety of workers, schedule and workloads, work hours and social security."
The measure could also address traffic congestion and its "tremendous effect on the country's economy, Villanueva said.
Once enacted into law, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is expected to come up with guidelines that will ensure the "fair treatment" provisions of the measure.
The proposed law would also require the establishment of a telecommuting pilot program in select industries for not more than 3 years, Villanueva said.
"Once this our work-from-home bill becomes a law, we can now have a stable and consistent legal framework that can provide an enabling environment to encourage participation and enforce compliance among enterprises, big or small," he said.