Work from Home (WFH) employees are entitled to rights granted by the Labor Code and the Telecommuting Act of 2018.
There has been a surge of WFH employees due to the pandemic. However, did you know that there was a law enacted last 2018 that governs such arrangement? Republic Act No. 11165, otherwise known as the Telecommuting Act, recognizes telecommuting, or work from an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunications and/or computer technologies. A work from home arrangement can be properly considered as telecommuting.
The Telecommuting Act grants the rights to WFH employees to ensure fair treatment
Due to the proliferation of WFH employees, it is necessary to understand the rights and responsibilities of said employees. The Telecommuting Act and its implementing rules are instructive on this score.
The Telecommuting Act grants the following rights to WFH employees:
1. A WFH employee should be given the same treatment as an onsite employee. This means that the WFH employee should have the same or equivalent workload and performance standards, access to training and career development opportunities and subjected to the same appraisal policies as those of comparable workers at the employer’s premises.
2. A WFH employee should be given fair treatment as to rate of pay, benefits and rest days.
3. A WFH employee shall have the same collective rights and access to safety and health services afforded to onsite employees.
4. A WFH employee should receive the appropriate training, at NO cost to him, on the technical equipment used as well as the characteristics and conditions of telecommuting.
5. A WFH employee should be given the opportunity to meet with colleagues and access to the regular workplace.
The Labor Code will also apply to WFH employees
More importantly, the Labor Code provisions still apply to WFH employees. Thus, they cannot be given less than what is mandated by law in terms of wages and benefits. Furthermore, they cannot be unjustly dismissed except for just causes or authorized causes under the Labor Code.
The WFH employee must abode by the Telecommuting Program
Of course, rights come with responsibilities. Hence, the WFH employee must still abide by the policies of the company. Pertinently, pursuant to Department Order No. 202 (series of 2019) or the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Telecommuting Act issued by the Department of Labor & Employment, the employer and the employee must adhere to and comply with the Telecommuting Program of the company which stipulates the following provisions:
b. Applicable code of conduct and performance evaluation and assessment;
c. Appropriate alternative workplace/s;
d. Use and cost of equipment;
e. Work days and/or hours;
f. Conditions of employment, compensation, and benefits particularly those unique to telecommuting employees;
g. Non-diminution of benefits;
h. Occupational safety and health;
j. Dispute settlement; and
k. Termination or change of work arrangement.
It must be noted that a telecommuting program can only be effected only upon mutual consent of the employer and the employee. Thus, neither the employer nor employee can demand that WFH arrangements or telecommuting measures be adopted.
These are the rights of WFH employees under the Telecommuting Act.
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.