The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has approved the alternative work schemes to be adopted by establishments when business operations resume.
DOLE-7 Regional Director Salome Siaton said depending on their position, function, and competencies, workers may be allowed to work from home, which is an arrangement also dubbed as telecommuting work.
“We know very well the struggle that the businesses, big or small, these days are going through. Some of them might resort to closing down of operations or terminating the services of their workers. To avoid this and in order to preserve employment, they could implement some alternative work schemes,” continued Salome.
Apart from the work from home arrangement, other alternative work arrangements would include the following:
- transfer of employees to another branch or outlet of the same employer;
- assignment of employees to other function or position in the same or other branch or outlet of the same employer;
- reduction of normal workdays per day or per week;
- job rotation, alternately providing workers with work within the workweek or within the month;
- partial closure of establishment where some units or departments of the establishment are continued, while other units or departments are closed; and
- other feasible working arrangements considering specific peculiarities of different business requirements.
For companies with existing employment contracts of workers, company policies, and collective bargaining agreement (CBA), employers and employees may agree voluntarily and in writing to temporarily adjust workers’ wage and wage related benefits.
The adjustments made are not supposed to exceed six months or the period agreed upon in the CBA, if any.
“After such period, employers and employees must renew their agreements or renew the same,” explained Siaton.
She also clarified that all alternative working schemes are temporary in nature and can be adopted for as long as the public health crisis exists.
“Employees who are separated from work due to authorized causes should be given their final pay within 30 days from the date of separation or termination of employment or as provided for under Labor Advisory No. 6, Series of 2020,” the DOLE-7 chief added.
Authorized causes of termination under the Labor Code would include the following: installation of labor-saving devices, redundancy, retrenchment, closure or cessation of business or incurable disease.
Companies adopting alternative work schemes should submit to DOLE a certified copy of all agreements made, while companies terminating workers should be able to submit an establishment termination report.
The alternative work schemes are provided for in Labor Advisory No. 17, Series of 2020. (hfg/PIA7 with report from DOLE-7)