Gatchalian urges Duterte to back WFH option for state, private sector workers

Batting for wider adoption of the work-from-home (WFH) option, Senator Sherwin Gatchalian prodded employers Wednesday to seriously consider such arrangement sure to “save fuel and transport costs” for both employers and their workers amid surging fuel prices.

In a news statement, Gatchalian suggested the Duterte government should also encourage more government agencies to adopt the WFH option, as well those in the private sector, to engage in flexible work arrangements to also “save fuel and transportation costs and improve the quality of life of employees.”

Assuring that employers can also benefit due to cost savings, Gatchalian said, “Our office may look empty for some but we are practicing work from home arrangement to save on gas, avoid traffic congestion, save time, and eliminate daily commutes.” The senator asserted, “Employers can likewise gain benefit as well due to cost savings.”

The senator recalled that even before the Civil Service Commission (CSC) issued a resolution allowing flexible work arrangements in government offices, he had noted that WFH had already been adopted by some companies in the private sector.

In order to promote the flexible work arrangement, Gatchalian said he aims to pursue the enabling legislation on his proposed tax incentives for employees on WFH or telecommuting program and income tax deduction for employers.

As provided in Senate Bill No. 1706, co-authored by Gatchalian, it proposes a reduction of P25.00 from the taxable income of an employee for every hour of work rendered under a WFH arrangement. He also proposed to make non-taxable the allowances and other benefits of employees covering expenses necessary for telecommuting, not exceeding
P2,000 per month.

Employers, for their part, may claim an additional 50-percent income tax deduction for allowances granted within the specified ceiling, said Gatchalian, adding that such provision is aimed at encouraging employers to provide much needed allowances to their employees while the proposed tax deductions for workers will effectively increase pay of employees.