‘Beat traffic by telecommuting’

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    Sen. Joel Villanueva is urging employers to utilize alternative solutions such as implementing telecommuting to maintain the productivity of workers given the worsening traffic congestion.

    “We want to create more options for our employees to fulfill their duties while minimizing the need to go out of their homes and travel to their places of work,” said Villanueva, who championed the passage of Republic Act No. 11165 or the Telecommuting Law.

    The transportation crisis hampering tens of thousands of commuters in the National Capital Region should prompt labor regulators and employers to utilize alternative solutions.

    “Given our worsening traffic situation which is compounded by the partial shutdown of the LRT 2 (Light Rail Transit line 2), it’s really high time for employers to consider the benefits of telecommuting,” Villanueva said in a statement.

    The law encourages employers in the private sector to adopt telecommuting, a work arrangement that allows an employee to work from an alternative workplace with the use of telecommunication and other relevant technology, he said.

    Villanueva added the law provides protection for workers who will decide (with agreement from their employers) to work from home. Workers under a telecommuting arrangement will receive the same compensation and social protection benefits as other workers who report or work in offices.

    Villanueva also urged employers with current telecommuting policies to align with existing standards of the labor department to ensure compliance with the law’s implementing rules and regulations, which were promulgated last March.

    System issues in the three main railways of Metro Manila are worsening the daily commute of workers in the country’s capital.

    Operations of the LRT-2 were suspended since October 3 after a fire broke out on its Katipunan station damaging equipment and parts of the tracks.

    The Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) resumed partial commercial operations last October 8, with trains running up to Cubao in Quezon City from Recto in Manila.

    The line ferries around 220,000 passengers daily, according to LRTA.

    The volume of traffic is expected to become heavier as the holiday season draws closer.