Flexible work arrangements in the public sector may now be adopted anytime.
This was approved by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) in CSC Resolution No. 2200209 promulgated on 18 May 2022. The policy will take effect fifteen (15) days after its publication (31 May 2022), or on 15 June 2022.
The CSC emphasizes that flexible work arrangements are subject to the discretion of the head of agency on the condition that all their stakeholders are assured of continuous delivery of services from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
During the State of Public Health Emergency, the Commission issued interim guidelines authorizing government agencies to implement alternative work arrangements based on the mandate and functions of the agency, to answer the exigencies of public service at the height of the pandemic that limited the movement of government workers.
The CSC seeks to institutionalize flexible work arrangements as part of the nationwide effort to transition from a state of public health emergency to the new normal. It serves as a preventive measure to safeguard the health, safety, and welfare of government officials and employees while ensuring the government’s continued operations and efficient delivery of public services.
With this policy in place, the CSC aims to improve work-life balance, encourage the adoption of information and communications technology (ICT) for remote work, and provide reasonable work arrangements for vulnerable employees such as senior citizens, pregnant women, immunocompromised individuals, or those recovering from sickness/injuries and issues of mobility. Safe work spaces and compliance with occupational health and safety standards are ensured in the implementation of flexible work arrangements.
As a parallel policy to the Telecommuting Law of the private sector, the flexible work arrangement guidelines covering 1.7 million government employees regardless of the status of appointment, will certainly change the landscape of work in the country. The CSC is confident that greater flexibility will lead to increased productivity as the work environment becomes more responsive to employees’ unique individual needs.
Per the resolution, flexible work arrangements include:
(1) Flexiplace, wherein officials and employees may be authorized to render services away from their office;
(2) Compressed work week, in which the 40-hour work week is compressed into four (4) days or less, instead of five (5);
(3) Skeleton workforce, where a minimum number of personnel will be required to report to the office when full staffing is not possible;
(4) Work shifting for agencies required by law to operate 24/7 or agencies required to observe workplace health and safety protocols;
(5) Flexitime, where employees are allowed to report between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. provided they complete the required 40-hour workweek; and
(6) Combination of flexible work arrangements that may be adopted by an agency according to what is appropriate or applicable to its mandate and functions.
The adoption of flexible work arrangements may be allowed on a regular or recurring basis, situational, or for medical reasons.
General requirements for flexible work arrangements
Agencies must ensure that the delivery of government services, programs, and projects will not be negatively affected, delayed, or hampered with the adoption of flexible work arrangements.
Moreover, agencies are tasked to draw up their internal guidelines on the chosen flexible work arrangement(s) and incorporate the same in their public service continuity plans. They are likewise mandated to adopt performance standards and timelines in accordance with Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018, and in consonance with approved work plans and targets.
Monitoring mechanisms for daily or weekly reports, use of teleconferencing platforms for meetings or assemblies, and reasonable and appropriate security measures may be adopted by agencies to ensure confidentiality of official documents and information in compliance with Republic Act No. 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012.
Support mechanisms and employee benefits
Government agencies shall ensure that support mechanisms are in place in the implementation of flexible work arrangements, such as appropriate personal protective equipment to frontline service providers and transportation facilities for physically reporting employees, reimbursement of laboratory or medical expenses incurred during official travel and reasonable expenses incurred during an imposed WFH arrangement, subject to existing budgeting, accounting, and auditing rules.
Regardless of work arrangement, government agencies shall ensure that employees are provided equal opportunities in terms of awards, promotions, and training; health or psychosocial interventions for mental well-being; and medical benefits for sustained wounds or injuries while in the performance of official duties.