Duterte inks telecommuting law, two other measures
President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law three bills, including the institutionalization of telecommuting as an alternative work arrangement for employees in the private sector.
Copies of the three laws, which also include increasing the monthly old-age pension of senior veterans, and declaring last Monday of January of every year as a special working holiday in observance of National Bible Day and all signed on Dec. 20, 2018, were only released on Thursday.
Republic Act No. 11165, otherwise known as the Telecommuting Act aims to protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare, especially in the light of technological development that has opened up new and alternative venues for employees to carry out their work such as telecommuting, and other flexible work arrangements.
Under the law, telecommuting refers to a work arrangement that allows an employee in the private sector to work from an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunication and/or computer technologies.
The telecommuting program would be on a "voluntary basis," the law said.
"The employer shall ensure that the telecommuting employees are given the same treatment as that of comparable employees working at the employer's premises," it said.
The Department of Labor and Employment is tasked to establish and maintain a telecommuting pilot program in select industries which shall last for a period of not more than three years.
Within 60 days from effectivity of the new law, the DOLE Secretary shall, in consultation with the National Tripartite Industrial Peace Council, and relevant stakeholders, issue the appropriate implementing rules and regulations of the new law.
Duterte also approved RA No. 11164, increasing the monthly pension for the veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam wars to P20,000.
To be qualified, the veterans of the Korean and Vietnam wars should not be receiving pension from the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The new Act also provides that the entitlement to the increase in old-age pension shall be limited to the eligible living senior veterans and shall not be transferable to any family members and/or dependents of the senior veterans.
The initial funding for the pension would come from the current year's available appropriation of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office. In the following years, the fund needed shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.
Meanwhile, despite Duterte's continuous attack on the Catholic Church, he inked RA No. 11163, or the National Bible Day Act.
"As a predominantly Christian nation and the largest Christian nation in the Asia Pacific, this Act recognizes the value of the Holy Bible as the core of Christian faith. The last Monday of January and every year thereafter is hereby declared as 'National Bible Day' and proclaim the same as a special working holiday," the law read. Celerina Monte/DMS