A SENATOR filed a measure seeking to expand the coverage of the telecommuting law to the public sector.

Senator Ramon B. Revilla, Jr. filed Senate Bill 2189 on May 12, which seeks to amend Republic Act No. 11165 or the Act Institutionalizing Telecommuting as an Alternative Work Arrangement for Employees in the Private Sector.

“As seen during this pandemic, telecommuting offers a viable work arrangement in line with the government directive of staying at home, social distancing and quarantine/isolation measures,” he said in his explanatory note.

“This bill expands the coverage of this Act to include employees in the public sector, who are also affected by and need to navigate the massive reforms of working conditions,” he added.

The proposal also includes a P1,000 monthly telecommuting allowance for all employees working under a telecommuting program.

“This incentive allows the workers to shoulder the additional expenses of computer or electronic hardware, internet connection, telephone bills, electric consumption, supplies, among others, attendant to working in their private residence,” he said.

The provision shall not eliminate or diminish supplements or other benefits set prior to the implementation of the law and shall not prohibit employers or the collective bargaining agreement from providing higher rates.

The allowances given by private employers shall be deductible for income tax purposes, according to the bill.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed the telecommuting act into law in Jan. 2019. — Vann Marlo M. Villegas