A SENATOR has refiled a bill expanding the coverage of the Telecommuting Act to government workers.
The proposed measure, filed by Senator Francis N. Tolentino, seeks to amend Republic Act 11165, which allows private companies to offer work-from-home and other alternative work arrangements to employees.
Telecommuting refers to the ability of an employee to complete work assignments outside of traditional workplaces through the use of telecommunications tools such as email, phone, chat and video applications.
Under the bill, telecommuting public sector workers will be provided with a non-taxable monthly allowance of at least P1,000 to cover additional utility costs.
“Working from home tends to increase utility consumption, particularly electricity,” said Mr. Tolentino in the bill. “Residential energy use has risen due to more people staying at home. Some workers even purchase their own equipment for working at home.”
Violators of the bill’s provisions could face a fine of up to P100,000.
The Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Finance, and the Bureau of Internal Revenue will be responsible for the implementation of this Act within 90 days of its effectivity.
The Civil Service Commission (CSC), in a resolution promulgated in May, has already approved flexible work arrangements in the public sector.
“The CSC seeks to institutionalize flexible work arrangements as part of the nationwide effort to transition from a state of public health emergency to the new normal,” it said in a June 6 statement, noting the need for preventive measures to safeguard the health and safety of workers.
There are about 1.7 million government workers, according to the CSC. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan