As most industries will be partially re-open during the MECQ in NCR, below is a quick recap of DOLE’s IRR for work from home arrangements (also called “telecommuting”) between employers-employees, which was issued even before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Terms and Conditions – A telecommuting program may be offered voluntarily by an employer in the private sector or may be the result of collective bargaining. In any case, the terms and conditions of the program must be mutually agreed upon, and must meet the minimum labor standards set by law (i.e. compensable work hours, minimum number of work hours, overtime, rest days, entitlement to leave benefits, social welfare benefits, and security of tenure).
Termination/Change in Work Arrangement – The employer or employee may terminate or change the telecommuting work arrangement, in accordance with the policy or agreement, without cause to the employee and without prejudice to the employment relationship and working conditions of the employee.
FAIR TREATMENT AMONG ALL EMPLOYEES
The employer must give the same treatment to telecommuting employees as that of employees working at the usual workplace. Telecommuting employees shall:
- Be covered by the same company rules and existing CBA;
- Receive a rate of pay, including overtime and night shift differential, and other monetary benefits not lower than provided by law and/or CBA;
- Have rest days, regular holidays, and special non-working days;
- Have equivalent workload and performance standards as those of comparable workers at the usual workplace, provided the parties have not mutually agreed to use different performance standards;
- Have the same access to training and career development opportunities as those of comparable workers at the usual workplace, without additional cost and subject to the same appraisal policies;
- Receive appropriate training on technical equipment at their disposal, and characteristics and conditions of telecommuting, without additional cost;
- Have the same collective rights as workers at the usual workplace, including access to safety and health services when necessary;
- Have the opportunity to meet with colleagues on a regular basis and access to the regular workplace and company information to prevent isolation from the company’s community.
Employer’s Responsibilities – The employer must strictly take the appropriate measures to ensure the protection of data used and processed by the employee/s for work, and inform the telecommuting employee of all relevant laws and company rules about data protection. Moreover, the employer can take certain measures (i.e. disabling hardware, USB access, external cloud-based storage, etc.) as may be needed.
NOTICE BY EMPLOYER
The employer shall notify DOLE on the adoption of a telecommuting arrangement by accomplishing and submitting the proper report form to the nearest DOLE Field or Provincial Office. In case the employer has branches outside the region of the principal office, each branch must likewise submit its respective report form.