By Erma Edera, April 3 2019; Manila Bulletin

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The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will require employers to submit their telecommuting work arrangements pending the issuance of guidelines regarding flexible working schemes.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello has signed Department Order 202-19 or the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act 11165 or “An Act Institutionalizing Telecommuting as an Alternative Work Arrangement for Employees in the Private Sector,” on March 26.

DOLE said it needs to monitor flexible working arrangements to be issued by companies.

“The employer shall notify the DOLE on the adoption of a telecommuting work arrangement, by accomplishing the DOLE-prescribed report form and submitting the same in print or digital copy, to the nearest DOLE Field or Provincial office having jurisdiction over the area where the principal office is located,” the resolution said.

If the establishment has branches or operational units outside its main offices, they are required to submit a report to the nearest DOLE Field or Provincial Office in which the branch or operational unit is located.

The telecommuting arrangements can be offered by the employer on a voluntary basis or through collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
DOLE said the terms and conditions “shall not be less than the minimum labor standards set by law, and shall include compensable work hours, minimum number of work hours, overtime, rest days, entitlement to leave benefits, social welfare benefits, and security of tenure.”

Employers should also treat their telecommuting employees equally as other employees working on company premises.

The IRR also requires employers and workers to agree on standards to make such schemes compliant with the Data Privacy Act of 2012.

Employers are tasked to ensure that data used by the telecommuting worker for professional purposes is protected.

“The employee shall commit to the company’s data privacy policy and ensure that confidential and proprietary information are protected at all times and utilized only in accordance with the requirements of the employer,” the IRR said.

Republic Act No. 11165, signed by President Duterte last December 20, institutionalizes telecommuting as an alternative work arrangement for employees in the private sector.

Under the Telecommuting Act, employers may offer a telecommuting program to workers on a voluntary basis and must give fair treatment to these employees.