DoLE tweaks telecommuting scheme

THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) has revised the work-from-home or telecommuting guidelines to make the scheme more suitable for hastening economic recovery.

Department Order 237, signed by Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma last Friday, September 16, but released to the media on Sunday, laid down the revised implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 11165 or the “Telecommuting Act” after almost two months of consultations with concerned sectors.

Aside from other stakeholders, the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council, a consultative body presided by the Labor secretary and composed of labor and employer representatives, also provided inputs on the policy.

Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma. Photo from DOLE

Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma. Photo from DOLE

Laguesma called on employers and workers to “jointly adopt and implement telecommuting programs that are based on voluntariness and mutual consent.”

“These revised rules clarify and adequately address issues and concerns of the telecommuting sector,” he said.

Laguesma made it clear that the alternative work arrangement is voluntary in nature.

“This aims to sustain our efforts for economic recovery,” he said.

“The terms and conditions of telecommuting shall not be less than minimum labor standards, and shall not in any way diminish or impair the terms and conditions of employment contained in any applicable company policy or practice, individual contract, or collective bargaining agreement,” the order stated.

Telecommuting employees are not considered field personnel, except when their actual hours of work cannot be determined with reasonable certainty.

“All time that an employee is required to be on duty, and all time that an employee is permitted or suffered to work in the alternative workplace shall be counted as hours worked,” the order said.

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