‘Give biz owners a free hand on work setup’

BUSINESS owners must be free to decide the work arrangements for their own employees. That’s the stand of Go Negosyo founder and head of the Jobs committee of the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) Jose Maria A. Concepcion III.

“I am not against the 70:30 on-site—work-from-home arrangement for IT-BPO companies. In fact, I was part of the council that recommended it and am the leader of the Jobs group which presented this suggestion,” said Concepcion in a statement on Wednesday.

The Go Negosyo founder added, “What I am saying is that the recommended work arrangement solution for the IT-BPO sector may not be the best one for all organizations.”  The private sector representative stressed that it is the business owners who are in the “best position” to decide which work arrangement is suitable for them based on their respective types of operations.

“Businesses must be free to decide based on what their operations require,” Concepcion stressed.

He stressed that the IT and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) sector has its unique work arrangement and “deliverables,” as do sectors like manufacturing, retail, finance services, among others, “who may need to have all employees render in-person work at all times.”

The private sector representative emphasized that “one solution does not necessarily work for all,” adding that some employees may prefer the idea of a work-from-home arrangement while some prefer the four-day workweek. He added, “but we can’t have the same solution for everybody.”

However, the Go Negosyo founder noted that the country’s economic rebound rests on private sector consumption and spending.

“We need more mobility if we want the economy to grow and for businesses to remain viable so they can generate more employment,” Concepcion stressed.

Regardless of employers’ decision on which work arrangement they prefer, the private sector representative noted that “we must not lose sight of the urgency for our country’s economy to recover from the pandemic, whether this is achieved through increased productivity or mobility.”

Recently, the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) decided to allow the transfer of registration of IT-BPM enterprises from Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) to the Board of Investments (BOI).

The move is seen as a win-win solution to the months-long standoff on FIRB restrictions on IT-BPM firms extending their employees’ work-from-home setup. With the transfer from PEZA to BOI, these firms can continue accessing fiscal incentives without violating Section 309 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended by the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) law.

IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) President and CEO Jack Madrid hailed the FIRB decision. However, he stressed this will not involve physically relocating their operations, adding that it would be a “paper transfer.”

Madrid said this is a “wonderful outcome” to IBPAP’s staunch advocacy for work-from-home or hybrid setup.

The only difference here is that those firms registered under the PEZA will be required to operate onsite. The BOI is the only investment promotion agency (IPA) not affected by the boundary constraints or zone limits, hence, the transfer from PEZA to BOI.