The Department of Labor and Employment backs IT-BPM companies on work-from-home (WFH) arrangements to be eligible to receive government incentives stipulated in the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) law. The Department is particularly keen on expanding the benefits granted to firms operating in economic zones.

Section 309 of the said law requires a qualified registered product or activity to be “exclusively conducted or operated within the geographical boundaries of the zone or freeport” to be entitled to the benefits provided in the Act. However, the Department contends that companies that do not produce physical goods and that are well-suited to remote work merit consideration.

“For all intents and purposes, they operate within the ecozones even while under work-from-home arrangements,” asserted Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III. “Such special working arrangements are recognized under existing DOLE guidelines.”

The Secretary was referring to various DOLE issuances, including DOLE Department Order No. 202, Series of 2019 (Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Telecommuting Act); Labor Advisory No. 17 and 17-B, Series of 2020 (Guidelines on Employment Preservation Upon the Resumption of Business Operation); Department Advisory No. 02- 09 (Guidelines on the Adoption of Flexible Work Arrangements); and Department Advisory No. 04-12 (Guidelines on the Implementation of Flexible Work Arrangements); which recognize and regulate alternative work arrangements.

“The pandemic has accelerated the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the adoption of new technologies, transforming the labor market in the New Normal.” He further explained. “Telecommuting has emerged as a viable and safe alternative work modality.”

DOLE’s recommendations come after the Departments of Finance and Trade and Industry released the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the CREATE Law. While the IRR provides temporary measures for exceptional circumstances, specifically the current pandemic, the provisions still require the approval of the Fiscal Incentives Review Board upon the recommendation of the Investment Promotion Agency.

“As one of the country’s key employment generators, the IT and business process outsourcing industry is one of the most important drivers of our economy,” Sec. Bello stated, “The sector generated 1.32 million jobs in 2020, bringing into our coffers $26.7 billion in revenue.

“We need to provide the industry the support it needs to reach its growth targets and potentials. Especially now, as we recover from the effects of the pandemic.”

 

END/29 June 2021