FAQs on Policies on Flexible Work Arrangements in the Government

 

Here is a quick view of the policies on flexible work arrangements in the public sector:

 

1. What is CSC Resolution No. 2200209?

This is the policy on flexible work arrangements in the government.

It was promulgated on 18 May 2022 and circularized via CSC Memorandum No. 6, s. 2022 dated 6 June 2022.

This policy institutionalizes the adoption of flexible work arrangements to provide safe work spaces for government workers, and protect their health and welfare while meeting the demands of public service. This is to prepare government agencies to overcome challenges during times of crises.

 

2. When is the effectivity date of this policy?

CSC Resolution No. 2200209 dated 18 May 2022 takes effect on 15 June 2022 or after fifteen (15) days from its publication in the Business World on 31 May 2022.

 

3. Why are policies on flexible work arrangements implemented?

To ensure efficient and effective public service delivery despite the occurrence of natural or human-made calamities, health issues of government workers, and traffic congestion disrupt government operations; thus, preventive measures such as the adoption of flexible work arrangements in the government were implemented over the years.

The CSC issued Memorandum Circular (MC) No. 22, s. 2014 on the adoption of the four-day workweek scheme in Metro Manila; MC No. 25, s. 2019 on the revised guidelines on flexible working hours to complement the strategies of the government to ease the traffic congestion in Metro Manila and other highly urbanized cities in the country; and MC Nos. 10 and 18, s. 2020 on the adoption of the alternative work arrangements in government during the community quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An alternative work arrangement, through telecommuting, is already available in the private sector pursuant to Republic Act No. 11165 (An Act Institutionalizing Telecommuting as an Alternative Work Arrangement in the Private Sector, 20 December 2018) to promote a healthy work-life balance for Filipino workers and to alleviate the traffic congestion, particularly in Metro Manila.

The CSC, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also issued Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 1, s. 2020, that enjoined all concerned agencies to comply with the Guidelines on Occupational Safety and Health Standards for the Public Sector to ensure that agencies are able to protect their officials and employees from occupational-related hazards, injuries, sickness, or death as they adopt flexible work arrangements.

With the evolution of HR management systems and practices brought about by the changing needs and conditions of the workforce, the advent of new information communication technologies, the emergence of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, continuing traffic congestion problems, and the occurrence of natural and man-made calamities, the Commission needed to re-evaluate the present government work scheme, as well as determine the applicability of some alternative work arrangements adopted by the private sector to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of public service.

 

4. What are the objectives of the adoption of flexible work arrangements in government?

The adoption of the flexible work arrangements in the government aims to achieve the following objectives:

• Institutionalize relevant and appropriate work arrangements for government officials and employees to ensure efficient and effective performance of governmental functions and delivery of public services, and to ensure protection of their health, safety, and welfare at all times;
• Ensure that government workers will be able to achieve the targets set by the agency, and agencies will be able to perform and achieve strategic plan and objectives under any circumstances;
• Boost the morale and enhance the welfare of government officials and employees by giving them the opportunity to accomplish their task/s through appropriate work arrangement/s thereby increasing employee productivity and performance, and allowing work-life balance;
• Encourage agencies to adopt Information and Communications Technology (ICT)-enabled work and relevant tasks that can be performed remotely; and
• Provide reasonable work arrangement/s to senior citizens, persons with disability (PWDs), pregnant and nursing mothers, immunocompromised individuals or persons with chronic conditions, and those who suffered from accidents affecting mobility but can physically and mentally work.

 

5. What is the scope and coverage of these work arrangements?

These policies shall apply to all appointive government officials and employees in all government agencies and instrumentalities, namely: constitutional bodies; departments, bureaus, and agencies of the national government; government-owned or -controlled corporations (GOCCs) with original charters; local government units (LGUs); and state universities and colleges (SUCs), regardless of status of appointment (permanent, temporary, provisional, substitute, coterminous, casual, contractual or fixed term).

 

6. Are COS and JOs covered?

The guidelines provide that the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and/or the Commission on Audit (COA) may formulate a parallel issuance on the matter for contract of service (COS) and job order (JO) workers in government, taking into consideration the same parameters set forth in these policies.

 

7. Is there a need to have the internal guidelines of the agency be approved by the CSC before the same may be adopted/implemented by the agency?

Agencies shall formulate their internal guidelines on the flexible work arrangement/s they have adopted and implemented, which are appropriate/applicable to their mandate and functions and shall comply with the provisions of CSC-DOLE-DOH JMC No. 1, s. 2020, to be submitted to CSC Regional Offices for records and reference purposes.

 

8. Are agencies required to adopt flexible work arrangements?

The policies on flexible work arrangements authorizes heads of the agencies to adopt/implement flexible work arrangements in accordance with their mandate and functions.

 

9. Can agencies adopt/implement flexible work arrangements even with the implementation of Alert Level System?

Agencies may adopt flexible work arrangements, anytime, in accordance with their mandate and functions, provided the agencies shall comply with the requirements as provided under the policies.

 

10. What are the flexible work arrangements allowed under the guidelines?

• Flexiplace - refers to an output-oriented work arrangement that authorizes government officials or employees to render service at a location away from their office, either in the home/residence of the official or employee, agency satellite office, or another fixed place, on a temporary basis duly approved by the head of office/agency;

• Compressed workweek - refers to a work arrangement whereby the forty (40) hours workweek for five (5) days of the government officials or employees is compressed to four (4) days or less, as may be applicable;

• Skeleton workforce - refers to a work arrangement where a minimum number of government officials or employees is required to man the office to render service when full staffing is not possible.

• Work shifting - refers to a work arrangement applicable to offices/agencies mandated by law to operate 24-hour continuous service delivery on a daily basis, or to agencies required to observe workplace health and safety protocols. This is also applicable to occupational groups that provide security and safety to agency personnel and/or property.

• Flexitime - refers to a work arrangement where the agency is allowed to adopt flexible time for its government officials and employees from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on a daily basis, provided that the required forty (40) hours workweek is complied with.

• Combination of flexible work arrangements - refers to a work arrangement whereby the agency may adopt a combination of any of the above-mentioned flexible work arrangements appropriate or applicable to the mandate/functions of the agency.

Examples include:

Skeleton workforce and WFH - three (3) days in the office and two (2) days WFH at eight (8) hours per day. A minimum of four (4) hours to be spent in the office/field and the remaining hours in WFH per day; provided the 40hour workweek requirement shall be complied with.

Work shifting and WFH - three (3) days work shifting in the office and two (2) days WFH at eight (8) hours per day. Agencies may adopt two (2) work shifts in a day, e.g., 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. exclusive of lunch/dinner, provided that it shall be in combination with WFH work arrangement to comply with the required 40-hour workweek.

Compressed workweek and WFH - A minimum of six (6) hours to be spent in the office/field and the remaining hours in WFH for four (4) days; or two (2) days spent in the office/ field and two (2) days in WFH at ten (10) hours per day, provided that the required forty (40)-hour workweek shall be complied with.

 

11. What are the types of flexiplace?

a. Work from home (WFH) – is a work arrangement where the government officials or employees work at home or their residence;

b. Work from satellite office – is a work arrangement where the government officials or employees, instead of reporting to their office, report for work at their agency satellite office near their place of residence (e.g., central/other regional office/field office); and

c. Work from another fixed place – is a work arrangement where the government officials and employees render service within the Philippines, at a place conducive for productive work and efficient performance of official duties and responsibilities, other than their home or residence and satellite office.

 

12. Under what conditions may flexiplace work arrangements be allowed?

a. Regular – under this work arrangement, the government officials or employees may request to work at an alternative worksite on a regular and recurring basis. Said government officials or employees may be allowed to work off-site for a period agreed upon with the supervisor and duly approved by the head of agency/office.

b. Situational - this work arrangement is appropriate for ad-hoc task/s or assignment/s that require/s short period of time or project-based, e.g., project proposal preparation, reports preparation, research, case adjudication, and other analogous circumstances.

c. Medical - this work arrangement may be allowed for government officials or employees who are recuperating from a medical condition, e.g., Osteogenesis Imperfecta, cancer, diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease, and other analogous diseases, which does not affect his/her ability to perform regular work assignment at an alternate worksite as certified by the attending physician. The duration of the flexiplace work arrangement shall be based on the recommendation of the attending physician. Request for flexiplace due to medical conditions shall be supported by the medical records of the government official or employee concerned.

 

13. What flexible work arrangement may be adopted by agencies during Daylight-Saving Time?

Flexitime may be adopted in case the Daylight-Saving Time is declared by the proper authorities, subject to the following provisions:

1. Agencies may adopt flexible time for their government officials and employees provided that they shall render not less than a total of forty (40) hours a week for five (5) days a week, exclusive of time for lunch.

2. The working hours of agencies adopting flexitime shall start not earlier than 7 a.m. and end not later than 7 p.m. Under this work arrangement, government officials and employees may choose their time to report for work (time-in) in the morning and time to leave the office (time-out) daily for the duration of the period subject to the approval of the agency/office head.

Heads of departments, offices and agencies shall, however, ensure that the public is assured of their frontline services from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., including lunch break.

3. In the exigency of the service, working days may also be altered to include Saturdays and Sundays; Provided that employees who work on such days may choose a compensatory days-off during weekdays, provided further that the Saturday and Sunday are regular workdays and not cases of overtime

 

14. What are the general requirements for flexible work arrangements?

Government officials and employees are required to render work from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on all days except Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.

Even when adopting flexible work arrangements, agencies should ensure continuous delivery of services from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., including lunch break, throughout the workweek. However, the implementation of such arrangements should not prejudice the participation or involvement of their officials and employees in official activities of the agency.

 

15. Are agencies allowed to customize flexible work arrangements according to their mandate, functions, or situation?

Under the guidelines, agencies are required to formulate their internal guidelines on the flexible work arrangement/s that they have adopted and implemented, which are appropriate/applicable to their mandate and functions. The internal guidelines should comply with the provisions of CSC-DOLE-DOH JMC No. 1, s. 2020 (Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Standards for the Public Sector) to be submitted to CSC Regional Offices for records and reference purposes.

Said internal guidelines should include tasks that may be allowed to be accomplished outside the office and other protocols such as health emergency plans to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

Agencies should also incorporate their flexible work arrangements in their Public Service Continuity Plan pursuant to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council Memorandum No. 33, s. 2018 (Public Service Continuity Plan Template for Government Agencies).

 

16. Are compensatory overtime credit/overtime pay applicable under flexible work arrangements?

Employees under flexible work arrangement are entitled to compensatory overtime credit/overtime pay if they physically reported for work and rendered services beyond the normal eight (8) hours on scheduled workdays or forty (40) hours a week, and those rendered on rest days or scheduled days off, holidays, and special non-working days, both exclusive of time for lunch and rest, subject to the provisions of CSC-DBM Joint Circular No. 2, s. 2015 (Policies and Guidelines on Overtime Services and Overtime Pay for Government Employees), as amended, and other related civil service, budgeting, accounting, and auditing rules and regulations.

Employees under WFH or work from another fixed place arrangements shall not be entitled to compensatory overtime credit or overtime pay.

 

17. How should performance standards be measured under flexible work arrangements?

Agencies are directed to adopt performance standards and timelines in accordance with RA No. 11032 (Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Delivery of Government Services Act of 2018) and in consonance with the approved Office/Division/Individual Performance Commitment and Review (OPCR/DPCR/IPCR) to guide government officials and employees in the performance of their assigned task/s.

Failure to accomplish the assigned task/s within the timelines set by the agency may be a ground to deny subsequent requests for flexiplace work arrangement.

Agencies are also directed to implement a monitoring mechanism, such as submission of daily or weekly accomplishment report/s, etc., in consonance with the performance standards they adopted.

 

18. In particular, how are flexiplace arrangements implemented?

For WFH:

WFH may be adopted anytime, subject to mutually agreed arrangements between the officials or employees and their supervisors. It shall apply to government officials and employees whose assigned task/s can be accomplished outside the office.

WFH may likewise be extended to government officials and employees whose task/s cannot be accomplished at the office, satellite office, or another fixed place under the following situations:

- emergence of a national or local outbreak of severe infectious disease and/or the occurrence of natural or human-made calamities;
- their place of assignment is located within one-kilometer radius from facilities and installations where infected/ suspected patients and public health workers and other frontline workers who are regularly exposed to infectious diseases;
- their place of assignment is located within one-kilometer radius of a calamity-stricken area;

The agency shall determine and assign alternative task/s subject to the performance standards and timelines for its completion in consonance with the approved OPCR/DPCR/IPCR.

When the agency has not assigned any other task/s, the concerned officials and employees who were not able to produce outputs during this period shall be considered on excused absence.

For Work from Satellite Office:

Work from satellite office shall apply to government officials or employees whose task/s can be accomplished outside the office but may need equipment/facilities that are available in the nearest satellite office. This may be allowed when the government workers cannot report for work due to typhoons/floods and other natural or man-made calamities, upon approval of the head of agency/office, except when the work arrangement is limited to WFH as declared by the Office of the President or proper authorities. Government workers who are stranded due to quarantine protocols, unavailability of transportation or inaccessible road may also be allowed to work at agency satellite offices. The 40-hour workweek shall still be observed under this arrangement.

For this purpose, the concerned government officials or employees shall request approval from their immediate supervisor or next higher officer in order that workload arrangement costs incurred by the satellite office may be properly coordinated.

For Work from Another Fixed Place:

Work from another fixed place shall apply to government officials or employees whose task/s can be accomplished outside the office, at a place conducive for productive and efficient performance of official duties and responsibilities, other than their home, residence, or satellite office.

For this purpose, the concerned government officials or employees shall request approval from their immediate supervisor or next higher officer in order that task/s may be properly assigned.

This arrangement may be allowed for government workers whose task/s cannot be accomplished outside the office and are stranded at a place away from their home or satellite office; or stranded due to quarantine protocols, unavailability of transportation or inaccessible road. However, the agency should still assign alternative task/s subject to the performance standards and timelines for its completion in consonance with the approved OPCR/DPCR/IPCR and existing CSC rules. Task/s assigned to government workers under this arrangement should be performed to the full extent possible in terms of workhours and workdays per workweek.

The agency shall take full responsibility of the grant of work from another fixed place and verification of the employees’ entitlement to be granted said arrangement. Verification should include the validation of the location of the government officials or employees, and the verification that their location is covered in the declaration of state of calamity by the proper government agency and such other evidence as may be necessary, e.g., bus ticket.

 

19. What are the benefits provided for employees under flexible work arrangements?

Agency heads shall ensure that all government officials and employees are provided with support mechanisms, employee benefits, and ICT resources.

Support mechanisms include:

• provision of appropriate personal protective equipment to frontline service providers, government officials, and employees who are required to physically report to work during the pandemic or other calamities;
• provision of vehicle or transportation facilities to transport government officials and employees required to physically report to work, whenever practicable, during a pandemic or occurrence of calamities, subject to budgeting, accounting, and auditing rules and regulations;
• reimbursement of laboratory and medical expenses incurred by government officials and employees in compliance with protocols, as issued by proper authorities, who are on official travel during the period of pandemic or emergence of any infectious disease;
• provision of health/psychosocial interventions to address problems related to mental well-being;
• defrayment of reasonable expenses incurred such as electricity bills, internet connection cost only when there is imposition of WFH arrangement due to emergence of national or local outbreak of a severe infectious disease and/or the occurrence of natural or human-made calamities subject to budgeting, accounting, and auditing rules and regulations;
• provision of other monetary and forms of incentives as may be allowed by the Office of the President or other authorized agencies or upon approval by the head of office/agency subject to budgeting, accounting, and auditing rules and regulations.

Employee benefits include:

• equal opportunities in terms of awards, promotions, training, and career development for government workers, regardless of the work arrangement that they have adopted, and in consonance with the existing civil service law, rules, and regulations;
• medical benefits for those who sustained wounds and/or injuries while in the performance of their official duties, regardless of their work arrangement and subject to the conditions under CSC-DBM Joint Circular No. 1, s. 2006, as amended by CSC-DBM Joint Circular No. 1, s. 2015, and the agency’s Collective Negotiation Agreement with the accredited employees’ association.

ICT resources:

• ICT resources, such as but not limited to computers/laptops, phones, authorized software, including reimbursement of internet and mobile data subscription expenses, subject to budgeting, accounting, and auditing rules and regulations, shall be provided for employees to adequately perform their duties. Agencies are also tasked to ensure protection of government properties and provide necessary support (e.g., troubleshooting and maintenance of mobile office equipment) for employees under the flexible work arrangements.
• Personal devices and equipment of government officials and employees may be used if the provision of agency-owned ICT resources is not feasible. Such practice must be included in the agency’s internal guidelines with provisions that these personal devices and equipment to be used by government officials and employees on flexible work arrangement must be properly recorded by the agency.

 

20. What measures should be adopted to ensure privacy and safety of data and online transactions under flexible work arrangements?

Agencies shall adopt reasonable and appropriate organizational, technical, and physical security measures to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of official documents and other relevant information. Personal data shall be processed by the employees pursuant to RA No. 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012.

Agencies are encouraged to use the Philippine National Public Key Infrastructure (PNPKI), which secures communications among individuals and government agencies, of the Department of Information, Communications and Technology. As such, government officials and employees should register their respective signatures on the PNPKI and use it for official government transactions in compliance with EO No. 810, s. 2009 (Institutionalizing the Certification Scheme for Digital Signatures and Directing the Application of Digital Signatures in e-Government Services).

Online government transactions must be implemented in accordance with COA Circular No. 2021-006 (Guidelines on the Use of Electronic Documents, Electronic Signatures, and Digital Signatures in Government Transactions).