The pandemic is still raging but government planners on Wednesday have started to phase in the next normal with a directive on telecommuting, more known as work-from-home (WFH) arrangements, which should no longer exceed 90 percent of work forces nationwide by April this year.
The Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) has decided not to extend the WFH arrangement covering workforces of registered information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) enterprises beyond March 31, 2022.
“The WFH arrangement is only a time-bound temporary measure adopted during the surge of the Covid-19 pandemic. Given the increasing vaccination rate of Filipinos nationwide, we can now undertake safe measures for physical reporting of employees, including those working in the IT-BPM firms operating within ecozones and freeports,” Finance Secretary and FIRB Chairman Carlos G. Dominguez III said at the recent FIRB meeting.
According to Dominguez, the return to office mandate presents new opportunities for employees and help pave the way for the recovery of local micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) that depend on IT-BPM employees.
Given that the number of vaccinated Filipinos steadily inflates and that WFH arrangements were instituted as a time-bound measure against surging infections then, the time for employees to physically report for work in phased increments has come.
Certain actors in the IT-BPM sector have asked the FIRB to allow WFH arrangements beyond March this year and were denied that at the interagency board meeting last February 21.
In that same meeting, the FIRB similarly disapproved a request to lift the moratorium on ecozone development in Metro Manila.