Senate panel to discuss 'work from home' bill

MANILA, Philippines – The Senate committee on labor and employment is set to conduct a hearing on the bill encouraging companies to adopt the “work from home” policy to address the traffic crisis in Metro Manila.

Senator Joel Villanueva, committee chair, will hear Senate Bill 1033 on Wednesday, January 25. 

The bill, he said, also seeks to promote “work-life balance,” as it would allow employees to spend more time with their families than on the road.

“We want to push for our Filipino workers to have a meaningful work-life balance by encouraging employers to explore telecommuting as a way of allowing work flexibility," Villanueva said in a statement.

"Gusto nating bigyan ng importansya ang oras sa pamilya na nababawasan dahil na rin kailangang pumunta sa trabaho ng ating mga manggagawa. Kung tutuusin, dahil sa traffic, 'yung oras sana na ay pwede nilang gamitin upang makapagpahinga o makasama ang pamilya ay nawawala,” he added.

(We want to give importance on family time, which has been affected by the need to commute to work. If you will think about it, the time that time could have been spent for rest or family are lessened by the time spent in traffic.)

Telecommuting

The bill encourages employers to allow “telecommuting” or the “partial or total substitution of computers or technology for the commute to work by employees.”

The adoption of the method, the bill said, should be voluntary based upon the agreement of the employer and the employees.

The measure also mandates that the employer shall treat those working from home the same way it treats workers in the office.

This includes providing same rate of pay and other similar monetary benefits, giving same workload and performance standards, and giving same access to training and career development opportunities, among others.

Based on a study by the National Center for Transportation Studies, the heavy traffic in Metro Manila is said to have cost the country P137.5 billion in 2011.

Another study conducted by the Japan International Coordination Agency (JICA) says the country stands to lose up to P6 billion a day by 2030, an increase from the P2.4 billion daily losses in 2015. – Rappler.com

Camille Elemia

Camille Elemia is a multimedia reporter focusing on media, technology, and disinformation.

image