No, an employer is not mandated by law to provide work from home (WFH) arrangements.
Businesses adopting Work from Home Arrangements
The pandemic has certainly enabled us to change not only our lifestyle but also the way we do business. The series of lockdowns and quarantine has forced most businesses to adopt WFH and flexible work arrangements to meet the demands of their clients. Thus, the need to avoid exposure has given rise to the surge of WFH employees. The productivity resulting from WFH arrangements is subject to debate and will not be discussed in this article. However, since WFH has suited many employees, there has been a demand on the side of the employees to continue implementing this arrangement. Some companies are also being asked by their employees to provide WFH measures. In this regard, is the company mandated to provide WFH arrangements?
Before we answer this question, allow us to give you a brief overview of Republic Act No. 11165, otherwise known as the Telecommuting Act. This law, enacted in 2018 even before the pandemic, recognized telecommuting, or work from an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunications and/or computer technologies. WFH surely falls under the concept of telecommuting.
The Telecommuting Act Encourages Work from Home Arrangements
The Telecommuting Act allows the company to offer a telecommuting program to its employee on a voluntary basis and under such terms and conditions as they may mutually agree upon. However, it must be emphasized that the terms should not be less than the minimum standards set by law and that the telecommuting employee should be given the same treatment as that of onsite employees.
Considering that the Telecommuting Act gives the company the freedom to have a telecommuting program and that it can be effected only upon mutual consent of the employer and the employee, it necessarily follows that the company cannot be compelled to provide such program. Thus, employees cannot demand that the employer should provide WFH arrangements. This is a management prerogative that is within the discretion of the employer.
Work From Home a Management Prerogative
What if the employee is more productive under a WFH arrangement? Can the employee insist that he remain as a WFH employee? The answer again is no. As stated above, a WFH arrangement must be upon mutual consent of the employer and the employee.
If the employer does not want to have a WFH scheme, the employee cannot insist. Although protection is given to the labor force, the law recognizes the freedom of the employer on certain areas of management. Thus, an employer is allowed to run his business as he sees fit, subject of course to his compliance with Philippine labor laws.
About Nicolas and De Vega Law Offices
If you need assistance in labor-related issues, compliance with DOLE issuances, and company employment policies, or business-related concerns, we can help you find solutions. Nicolas and de Vega Law Offices is a full-service law firm in the Philippines. You may visit us at the 16th Flr., Suite 1607 AIC Burgundy Empire Tower, ADB Ave., Ortigas Center, 1605 Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines. You may also call us at +632 84706126, +632 84706130, +632 84016392 or e-mail us at [email protected]. Visit our website www.ndvlaw.com.