Those living in the outskirts of the Greater Metropolitan Area of Metro Manila can breathe a sigh of relief as the President just signed into law Republic Act 11165 or “An Act Institutionalizing Telecommuting as an Alternative Work Arrangement for Employees in the Private Sector”. Put it simply, employees can now work at the comfort of their homes or from an alternative workplace with the use of a computer or a laptop or related communication equipment.

According to the Republic Act, an employer from the private sector can offer its employees a telecommuting program on a voluntary basis. From there, the employer and employee can set terms and conditions that they can mutually agree on. The Act states that any employee that is part of the telecommuting program shall have the same level of labor standards as those that work on-site. To put it simply, employees working from home will receive a fixed salary, overtime or holiday pay, have the right to holiday breaks or vacation leaves, and receive medical or other types of benefits. In addition, they have to have the same level of access to training and career development opportunities as those that are working in the office premises itself.

“With this recently signed law, we can now have a stable and consistent legal framework that can provide an enabling environment to encourage participation and enforce compliance among enterprises, big or small. This is indeed a fitting New Year’s welcome for our dedicated Filipino workers,” said Senator Emmanuel Joel Villanueva, one of the principal authors of R.A. 11165. The implementing rules and regulations (IRR) will be made by the Secretary of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) with consultation from stakeholders within the next 60 days.

So for those who spend anywhere from 4 up to 8 hours a day just riding to and from work, that time commuting may be spend instead with more quality time with your loved ones.