While the threat of the dreaded coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) to people’s lives remains present, alternative working arrangements are becoming a new normal in offices.
As such, Sen. Imee Marcos has proposed to amend Republic Act No. 11165, or the “Telecommuting Act,” which defines telecommuting as a work arrangement that allows an employee to perform his tasks from an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunication and/or computer technologies.
Marcos filed Senate Bill No. 1448 to make working from home a mandatory option offered to employees whose physical presence in the workplace is not necessary for the completion of his/her job and who have been with the company for at least one year.
“Should the physical presence of the employee be necessary for a particular task, the employer may require his/her attendance in the workplace, within office hours and during weekdays, but not more than twice a week,” her amendment stated.
The Marcos bill also states that a contract of employment should clearly indicate the eligibility of a given position for telecommuting.
Citing records from the Department of Health, Marcos said that as of June 23, 2020, there are 31,825 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection, with 1,186 deaths recorded.
“Clearly, a ‘new normal’ of social distancing, new hygiene standards and limited physical contact shall prevail into the future,” Marcos said, adding that these have forced various sectors to make major modifications in their policy to ensure compliance with social distancing measures.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Telecommuting Act on December 20, 2018, after Sen. Joel Villanueva steered its passage during the previous Congress./Stacy Ang