MANILA—The House of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill letting private sector employees to work outside the office through "telecommuting."
House Bill 7402, or Telecommuting Act, defines "telecommuting" as "a flexible work arrangement that allows an employee in the private sector to work from an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunication and/or computer technologies," the lower chamber said in a statement.
Under the bill, agreements between employers and workers shall include compensable work hours, minimum number of work hours, overtime, rest days and entitlement to leave benefits.
"The bill mandates the employer to ensure the telecommuting employees are given the same treatment as that of comparable employees working at the employer’s premises," it said.
"Moreover, the employees shall have the same or equivalent workload and performance standards as those comparable workers at the employer’s premises."
The measure tasked the Department of Labor and Employment to create a pilot program in select industries that shall last for not more than 3 years.
"The said agency shall be responsible for base-lining, scoping and profiling research work prior to implementation, regular quarterly monitoring, and evaluation. At the end of the program, the DOLE shall submit a report to Congress on its findings," it said.
Camarines Sur 2nd District Rep. Luis Villafuerte, author of the bill, said establishing alternative modes of working "is very timely in light of the worsening traffic situation in Metro Manila and the increasingly unpredictable weather."
“More and more employers have expanded the traditional mode of on-site work to the adoption of flexible working arrangements such as the compressed workweek and telecommuting, among others,” he said.