WFH set to be mandatory in the Philippines
While many companies in Asia are beginning to plan their return to the workplace, remote working in the Philippines is set to represent the ‘new normal’ in the country.
A new bill filed by senator Imee Marcos proposed that mandatory work-from-home (WFH) arrangements be offered to employees “whose physical presence in the workplace is not necessary for the completion of his/her job, and who has been with the company for at least one year.”
The proposed bill, explained Marcos, aims to “strengthen the telecommuting law by making it mandatory, and not merely optional.”
Signed into law in December 2018, the Telecommuting Act defined 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.
For the new bill, Marcos added, “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.”
Should the bill be passed, employers are also required to indicate in employment contracts the eligibility of a given position for telecommuting.
The proposed bill comes as the Philippines government extended the general community quarantine (GCQ) of Metro Manila and several other provinces until June 30. Other cities, such as Cebu, which is currently experiencing one of the highest COVID-19 rates in the country, continues to be placed on the more stringent enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).
Under the GCQ, selected industries are allowed to operate at up to 75% capacity, while only a limited number of people employed in industries providing essential services are allowed to go to work under the ECQ.