It is right for presidential candidates to back alternative work arrangements

It is right for presidential candidates to back alternative work arrangements

During the presidential debate sponsored by the Commission on Elections last March 19, the leading presidential candidates voiced their support for the possible implementation of a four-day workweek in response to rising fuel prices. Senator Manny Pacquiao and Manila Mayor Isko Moreno Domagoso agreed separately that this may be applicable in certain sectors.

For his part, labor leader Leody de Guzman also backed to the proposal but stressed that overtime pay must be given for days employees are render more than eight hours of work. Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Panfilo Lacson supported his view. This renewed discussion on alternative work arrangement also comes at the heels of the government’s apparent intent to eventually mandate he resumption of on-site work in as many industries as possible.

The past two years has shown that a lot of jobs in many industries can actually be performed at home as long as there’s the necessary hardware and stable Internet connection. Educators, for example, even shouldered the cost of buying certain gadgets like headsets and ring lights to meet the demands of the work-from-home (WFH) setup.

However, with the number of active COVID-19 cases in the country now back down to pre-Omicron levels, the government through the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) announced in early March that business process outsourcing (BPO) companies should require their employees to work on-site effective April 1, 2022 lest they lose their tax breaks.

The leaders of the BPO industry is understandably appealing for more time, explaining that the transition to working on-site again will take time. For instance, the WFH set-up has allowed employees to work without interruptions even when they are in their home provinces. some of these employees may have given up their rented spaces already and hence will have to get a new one.

The Philippines should join the rest of the world in embracing the fact that alternative work arrangements are here to stay, even after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has ended – whenever that may be.

This makes more sense now given the sharp rise in fuel prices, and the looming fare increase in public utility vehicles. In the long run, alternative work arrangements can also help in alleviating the traffic congestion problem especially in Metro Manila. This may not be good news for the real estate industry because it means that the demand for office space will never be as high as it once was before, but agility is the name of the game.

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Mark Pere Madrona

The Filipino Scribe (TFS) is managed by Mark Pere Madrona, a multi-awarded writer and licensed professional teacher from the Philippines. Mr. Madrona earned his master’s degree in history from the University of the Philippines-Diliman last 2020. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in journalism cum laude from the same university back in 2010. His area of interests includes Philippine journalism, history, and politics as well as social media. Know more about him here: https://www.filipinoscribe.com/about/.

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