Senate Committee to Tackle Bill Promoting Work from Home

In an aim to address the issue regarding heavy traffic in the country, as well as to balance work-life, the Senate is now seeking to discuss a bill which would promote work from home.

In a press release posted by the Senate Committee on its official web page, it was announced that Senator Joel Villanueva, Chairman of Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resources Development, is set to conduct a public hearing regarding the Senate Bill No. 1033 or The Telecommuting Act, which would promote home-based jobs as well as to address other issues including heavy traffic congestion and its huge effect on the country’s economy.

According to the said press release, the lawmakers want to move for the Filipino workers to achieve a meaningful work-life balance. Thus, they are now pushing employers to explore the world of telecommuting as a way of allowing job flexibility.

In a statement released by Villanueva, he claimed that they want to value family time, which has been affected by the workers’ need to commute on their way to work. Obviously, he has a very good point when he said that if you would think about the workers’ situation, the time they spent in heavy traffic could have been spent for their rest or for their family.

Based on a recent research, work flexibility results to productivity of workers and makes employees healthier and less stressed.

Furthermore, the lawmaker also noted previous statistics which prove that heavy traffic, particularly in Metro Manila, has resulted to inconvenience to approximately more than a million daily commuters and yields to severe loss to the economy.

In a study conducted by the National Center for Transportation Studies, the heavy traffic in the metro is said to have cost our country some 137.5 billion pesos back in 2011.

Moreover, in another study conducted by the Japan International Coordination Agency (JICA) in 2015, it predicted that by 2030, traffic costs in Metro Manila would increase from 2.4 billion pesos to 6 billion pesos a day.

Furthermore, an Urban planner and architect, Jun Palafox, likewise claimed that workers in Metro Manila waste an average of 1,000 hours a year being stuck in traffic.

Under the said bill, employers are encouraged to permit the so-called “telecommuting” or the “partial or total substitution of computers or technology for the commute to work by workers”.

Also, the adoption of the said telecommuting method should be voluntary based upon the agreement of both parties - the employer and the employee.

The bill further mandates that the employer shall give equal treatment to those who work from home and those who work in the office.

Employees who will work from home shall be likewise paid the same rate of pay, same benefits, and even same workload, performance standards and access to trainings and professional growth opportunities that employees in the office receive according to the proposed law.

Aizelle Joe