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DoLE to offer no objections to telecommuting bill

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THE Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said it has no objections to the work-from-home bill that recently made it past second reading in Congress.

“Basically we have no objections. It’s going to be helpful for workers,” said Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III.

House Bill 7402, or the Telecommuting Act, passed on second reading at last month. Its counterpart measure, Senate Bill 1636 or the Telecommuting Act of 2017 made it through that chamber and will be reconciled by both houses once the 17th Congress resumes on July 23.

He added that this type of work arrangement should be studied further. “We still need to study if it has a good effects on efficiency and productivity,” Mr. Bello said, noting that one possible conern is workers who are away from their supervisors.”

Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) Director Dominique R. Tutay said that the BLE “Welcomes and recognizes flexible work arrangements,” which he said, are being practiced globally.

She said there is a need for concrete rules and policies which also need further study. “We need to have a baseline. If we don’t have a baseline, we don’t have any basis for our actions when we establish policies for the workers and the employers,” she said.

Associated Labor Unions (ALU) said the law may be used to limit the right of workers to organize.

“While the flexible work scheme may save urban workers from an average two to four hours daily agony and disease-causing stress caused by commuting through traffic jams and poor mass transport system, cut fuel, transport and parking expenses and improve work-life balance, the arrangement may also deprive workers of their right to organize themselves as a union and to collective bargain for better wages and benefits,” said Mr. Gerard R. Seno, executive vice-president of ALU.

ALU spokesperson Alan A. Tanjusay said that the setup is not applicable to all industries, saying “Workers in IT, business process management, business process outsourcing, animation, journalists, writers, transcribers, social media management, data entry, customer service, project managers, and web designers and developers” can benefit from the work-from-home scheme. — Gillian M. Cortez