EconomyEditor's PickPEZA renews appeal for revenue-based remote work rules

November 1, 2021
PHILSTAR

By Jenina P. Ibanez, Senior Reporter

THE PHILIPPINE Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) will renew its appeal for an outsourcing remote work scheme based on company revenues after the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) stood by its new work-from-home (WFH) rules, the investment promotion agency’s top official said.

PEZA Director-General Charito B. Plaza in a mobile message on Friday said the agency is guiding outsourcing firms to implement the new WFH scheme retained by the FIRB “while we send still our appeal to be based on revenues to prevent exposure of workers (to COVID-19).”

“There will be more workers to report physical if based on number of workers than based on revenues,” she said.

The FIRB stood by its decision to continue to allow outsourcing firms operating within economic zones to keep work-from-home arrangements until March next year, but companies must have 10% of employees on site.

The board snubbed the PEZA’s request to retain old rules allowing remote work “up to 90% of their total revenues” instead of a set percentage of the workforce.

PEZA had previously said that new rules requiring part of the workforce report to ecozones would cause problems because many employees are still wary about working at the office amid a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, an outsourcing industry group plans to keep working with government agencies to come up with public policies on long-term mixed remote and office-based work.

The Information Technology and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) in an e-mail on Wednesday said it will make sure member companies comply with FIRB requirements.

“IBPAP will sustain our collaborative efforts with the government in formulating enabling public policies that will help create a safe and supportive business environment in the Philippines. This includes dialogues with the different implementing agencies on how the hybrid work model can be executed for the long term,” IBPAP Executive Director Ricky E. Salvador said.

“We are also working closely with stakeholders to make certain that employees stay healthy and safe no matter where they are working.”

Finance Assistant Secretary Juvy C. Danofrata had said that FIRB members think the new resolution issued on WFH rules is “a reasonable one considering that activities registered with PEZA or any other economic zones should actually be conducted within their ecozones.”

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