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Manila – The Institute for Labor Studies Executive Director Ahmma Charisma Lobrin-Satumba was one of the key presenters for the 2021 Digital Industrial Relations (IR) Summit, hosted by the People Management Association of the Philippines on November 26, 2021, and was presented via the Zoom digital platform.

The keynote address was delivered by DOLE Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III who spoke about this year’s theme “From Survive to Thrive: COVID-19 Pandemic and the Future of Work.”

For her presentation, Director Satumba spoke on the topic “Alternative Work Arrangements and Telecommuting: How Far Has It Gone?.” Director Satumba started her presentation by providing the audience a snapshot of the Global Workforce Survey and Reports, and followed this with the “Policy Landscape of Alternative Work Arrangements,” which gave viewers an up-to-date history and evolution of telecommuting through various issuances by the Department.

Director Satumba also highlighted key features of the Telecommuting Act (RA 11165) and substantiated this with the latest data on the increasing number of establishments that implemented the Alternative Work Arrangement (AWA).

Relative to this, Director Satumba also highlighted the 2020 study conducted by the Institute on Telecommuting Practices Prior and During the COVID-19 Pandemic, which aimed to document the good practices of industries that implemented the AWA.

Based on the study, some of the key reasons for implementing telecommuting and AWA include adaptability and the nature of business, as well as an assessment of an employee’s functions which are deemed fit for AWA, cost-efficiency, implementation of health and safety protocols, and the promotion of work-life balance. These factors were supported by the perceived benefits from the implementation of the AWA.

She also stressed that telecommuting and Work From Home, just like other flexible work arrangements, have proven to be an effective alternative to ensure business continuity and mitigate the adverse effects of COVID 19 pandemic.

Lastly, Director Satumba reiterated that regardless of where work is conducted, it is important to ensure that all workers are assured of decent work rights, protections, and arrangements in accordance with the ILO Decent Work Agenda.