Peza asks FIRB: reconsider WFH threshold


THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) is asking the Fiscal Incentives Review Board (FIRB) to revisit the implementation of the work-from-home (WFH) threshold on the basis of gross revenues for the information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) firms, after denying their earlier request.

“Peza is guiding the IT-BPM [sector] to comply with the FIRB’s WFH [arrangement] based on the number of workers while we send a reconsideration for the gross revenues as basis of WFH,” Peza Director General Charito Plaza told the BusinessMirror.

The Peza proposal, which seeks to base the threshold on gross revenues, means the locators will be allowed to have 100-percent  WFH arrangement for the workforce but it also means that only 90 percent of the revenues of the activity will be subject to incentives. Plaza said the proposal is also for the interim while the national state of calamity is in effect.

Last month, however, Finance Assistant Secretary and FIRB Secretariat Head Juvy C. Danofrata said that Peza’s plea was denied because it is “not consistent with the economic strategy of the government to gradually and safely reopen the economy.”

Danofrata claimed that the FIRB resolution regarding the WFH scheme was already “reasonable,” given that activities should be held in the economic zones in the first place.

The FIRB has approved the extension until March 31, 2022, of WFH arrangements for up to 90 percent of employees in the IT-BPM sector.

Safety seals

For now, the regulator of economic zones said they are yet to be oriented about the policies set in the Safety Seals program, as 10 percent of the workforce is expected to return to the offices.

This, after the Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) urged the IT-BPM firms to secure said certification.

“On the Safety Seals, we need to be appraised yet by the DoLE of this requirement,” Plaza told this newspaper.

Safet Seals are a certification that an establishment adheres to the minimum public health standards set by the government amid the pandemic. Those who secure the said document are also allowed additional operating capacity.

“When workers are assured of their safety and health at their respective workplaces, work quality and productivity are also enhanced,” Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III said in an earlier statement.

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