Villanueva pushes more benefits for those working from home

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 15 2020 08:52 PM

A woman browses the internet for news using a laptop on May 27, 2019. Art Fuentes, ABS-CBN News/File Photo

MANILA - Senate Committee on Labor chair Joel Villanueva on Wednesday pushed for amendments to the Telecommuting Act, saying more benefits must be given to home-based workers to motivate them to work from home during the global pandemic.

Tax incentives should be given to home-based workers to give them "motivation" to be more "efficient" even at home, Villanueva said in an online press conference.

"A good way to encourage this proposal is for the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) to amend its guidelines... These are benefits of small value for the welfare of workers," he said.

A worker's productivity increases by 14 percent when they work in an environment that is "more flexible" and "more comfortable," the senator said, citing a study from Stanford University in the United States.

While work-from-home arrangements should be made available to all workers, Villanueva acknowledged that some industries may be exempted from the policy.

"For example, 'yung linemen ng electric company, 'yung safety officials, 'yung field personnel...May joke nga yung mga nagtatrabaho sa morgue, ayaw nilang dalhin sa bahay ang trabaho nila," he said.

(For example, the linemen of electricity companies, the safety officials, field personnel...There's a joke among those who work in the morgue that they don't want to bring home their work.) 

The senator also noted that "not all employers have the capacity to convert their operation to a virtual model."

"Ang bottomline, not all work can be brought home," he said.

Sen. Francis Tolentino earlier filed a bill seeking to give home-based workers a P1,000 monthly allowance to help them compensate additional electricity charges as a result of working from home.

Sen. Imee Marcos filed a separate bill that will require employers to limit office work to 2 days a week.