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Rights at Work

Violence and harassment is a manifestation of injustice against humanity. In the world of work, it essentially compromises not only the individual’s health and dignity but also affects the organizations’ productivity and the country’s socio-economic development. Using qualitative data collection approaches such as online focus group discussions and review of literature, this paper examines the extent to which the existing Philippine policies and mechanisms complement the requirements of the Violence and Harassment Convention(ILO C190)–the very first international labor standards to provide a common framework to address violence and harassment in the world of work. This study notes that the Philippines has a substantial number of laws and regulations to address violence and harassment. However, the following are the areas that need to be worked on: 1) lack of conceptual and operational definition of violence and harassment in the world of work which possibly contributes to inadequate understanding of its various forms and severity, and therefore, the prevention of such acts and behaviors; 2) limited scope and coverage of existing laws, regulations and practice to encompass all persons and situations associated with the world of work; 3) challenging enforcement of legal or regulatory framework, especially for the workers in the informal economy and migrant workers; and 4) narrow approach to violence and harassment instead of treating it as an intersectional inequality issue.

With the enactment of Republic Act No. 11165 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, telecommuting, a type of flexible work arrangement was institutionalized in 2018.As lockdowns and stay-at-home measures were enforced at the onset of pandemic, workforce is instructed to work remotely. This study analyzed the trends and practices on telecommuting prior and during COVID-19 pandemic, in aid of developing an operational framework for companies to adopt in times of emergency situations (e.g., pandemic). Findings of the study revealed that, telecommuting is not the only option of companies in implementing flexibilities in their workplaces even during the pandemic. Their choices are geared toward flexibility in work hours rather than flexibility in the place of work. Because  certain job functions, not industries, are not “telecommute-able.” Moreover, the lack or limited consultation with employees on the aspects of telecommuting (policy/guidelines, eligibility, and rights and benefits of telecommuting employees) resulted to variations in implementing the work arrangement which caused several challenges for the employers, workers, and the DOLE. Hence, social dialogue is very important, particularly in formulating industry/sector-specific guidelines such as: (1) determining the eligibility of employees; (2) employer-shouldered costs; and (3) rights and benefits of telecommuting employees. Similarly, the study also recommended a standard template agreement to serve as guide for companies. Furthermore, reporting should be improved(i.e., reporting from DOLE Regional Offices to Program Managers) including company size, reasons for telecommuting as well as practices, particularly on industries implementing telecommuting in accordance with the provisions of the Telecommuting Act and its IRR.