Team Work-From-Home! Remote Working in the Philippines Might Be Easier Now With President Duterte’s Signing of the Telecommuting Act

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Do you just hate commuting to work? Wake up at 4 AM. Leave at 5 AM. Get surprised by the multitude of people lining up as early as 6 AM.

Not to mention, calling public transportation "uncomfortable" is a severe understatement. If you want to experience how a couple of sardines feel inside a canned good, try out PH buses and trains during rush hour. I'm not even kidding.

It's normal for Filipinos to commute an average of 3-4 hours per day, going to a peak of 5-7 hours during "special days". Do you like concerts? An ASEAN event? The rain? Heck, these special days will net you additional hours on the road FOR SURE. Finally, with your mini adventure, arrive at work at 8 AM because of the d*mn traffic, only to repeat the grueling process when you travel back home.

That's why quite a lot of people dream to work from home. And with the signing of the Telecommuting Act, the opportunities for it might now be easier in the coming months.

 

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Image Credit: Unsplash


Telecommuting Act


Republic Act No. 11165 or "An Act Institutionalizing Telecommuting as an Alternative Work Arrangement for Employees in the Private Sector" was signed by President Duterte last December 20, 2018.

Officially known as the "Telecommuting Act", it aims to give clear safeguards when a voluntary remote working arrangement is made between an employer and their employees. They can set terms, conditions, and responsibilities, which they mutually agree on in writing.

 

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Image Credit: FacultyOfLaw.org


Equal Treatment


But you may think, the companies might shortchange you versus those in the office. Fret not. With the Telecommuting Act, the remote worker will still have a fixed salary, overtime pay, vacation leaves, medical benefits, skills training, and fair performance appraisals.

This law also inherently requires companies to have some form of ICT (Information Communication Technologies) to track your work progress for fair assessments.

The point is, you are protected with the "fair treatment" provision of this law. Essentially, you will have the same remuneration and benefits. The only difference is that you work from home.

 

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Image Credit: Pexels


Opportunities Awaiting You


With this setup, you will free up more time for other useful stuff. I mean. With the 3-7-hour commute gone, a lot can happen! You can now have the same benefits of a freelancer as to location independence.

You can spend more time with your family. Learn a new skill. Save up on expenses. Travel while working. Or better yet, you might even become a freelancer on the side and do some side hustles yourself. The possibilities are endless!

 

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Image Credit: Pexels


Traffic & Telco Internet Speeds: Advantages Not Only For You But Also For The Country


You will not be the only one benefitting. Last year, JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) showed a study that the Philippine economy loses around P3.5 Billion pesos because of the extreme traffic conditions. Of which, it would explode to P5.4 Billion by 2035 if we don't do anything.

With the Telecommuting act, it would help alleviate the extreme traffic congestion we are experiencing in the Metro. Or at the very least, save a certain fraction of the population from the detrimental economic effects of traffic.

Moreover, Telecommuting goes hand-in-hand with Telcos. This law gives our Telecom providers a much-needed push to up their game. Last year, we are ranked one of the slowest in the world. And with the demand from the remote workers, this should not be the case.

 

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Image Credit: Ayushman College


Implementing Rules and Regulation After 60 Days


But it will all depend on DOLE's draft of Implementing Rules and Regulation. Under the law, the labor department is tasked to create guidelines on the following:

  • Rate of pay, including overtime and night shift differential, and other similar monetary benefits not lower than those provided in applicable laws, and collective bargaining agreements

  • Right to rest periods, regular holidays, and special non-working days

  • Equivalent workload and performance standards as those of comparable workers at the employer’s premises

  • Access to training and career development opportunities as those of comparable workers at the employer’s premises, and be subject to the same appraisal policies covering these workers

  • Appropriate training on the technical equipment at their disposal, and the characteristics and conditions of telecommuting

  • Collective rights as workers at the employer’s premises, and shall not be barred from communicating with workers’ representatives


Let us hope for the best and take advantage of this New year gift for everyone! Happy work from home!

 


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