DBM: Gov’t workers from home can reimburse P75-300/month for internet expenses

Published by rudy Date posted on July 3, 2021

By: Ben O. de Vera, Philippine Daily Inquirer, 3 Jul 2021

MANILA, Philippines–Government employees who worked from home amid the pandemic can reimburse P75-300 per month to cover their internet expenses, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said.

Amid the nationwide state of public health emergency due to COVID-19, departments and agencies should ensure that personnel under alternative work arrangements prescribed by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) — including work from home — have been provided communication equipment like computers or laptops, mobile phones, as well as access to internet and email, Budget Secretary Wendel Avisado said in Circular Letter No. 2021-7 dated July 1.

“Agency heads are directed to ensure that all workers are afforded with adequate support mechanisms, such as defrayment of reasonable expenses incurred during the work from home arrangement, subject to existing budgeting, accounting, and auditing rules and regulations,” Avisado said.

Avisado said reimbursements can cover “reasonable” internet and mobile data subscription expenses of government workers at home so they could “augment or defray some of the costs” but “not to cover the actual total costs.”

Also, employees working from home must apply to reimburse by submitting documentary requirements, Avisado said. “The reimbursement… shall not be automatically granted.”

Regular, casual and contractual government workers can reimburse their monthly internet expenses, while consultants as well as those hired under job orders and service contracts cannot apply, the DBM circular serving as reimbursement guidelines read.

Also ineligible to reimburse were those with work-issued phone subscriptions having mobile data package allocations of 4GB and up, as well as those who had been receiving similar communications-related benefits worth P300 and above monthly, the DBM said.

For those eligible to reimburse, one to five days of work from home during a month will allow them to receive a maximum amount of P75.

Six to 11 days will reimburse up to P150; 12 to 16 days, a maximum of P225; and 17 or more days, the highest maximum amount of P300 per month.

“The agency concerned shall determine the appropriate amount to be set for its employees, depending on the nature of its work and other applicable parameters, subject to the available funds of the agency under its maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE),” the DBM said.

As for part-time workers, the DBM said reimbursements will be “pro-rated corresponding to the services rendered.”

“If employed on part-time basis with two or more agencies, an employee shall be entitled to proportionate amounts corresponding to the services in each agency, provided that the total claim shall not exceed the authorized amount,” the DBM added.

“Only the days where an employee is reporting under the work-from-home arrangement shall be considered as eligible for the reimbursement of internet/mobile data subscription expense. The days where an employee is reporting under a skeleton workforce arrangement and any other working arrangement wherein an employee is physically reporting to the office premises, and when an employee is on official leave, whether with pay or without pay, and on compensatory time-off, shall not be counted,” according to the DBM.

To reimburse internet and mobile data expenses, government personnel needed to submit the approved authority or office order allowing them to work from home.

They should also provide an “accomplishment report specifically identifying the tasks rendered by the employee which needed the use of internet/mobile data during the days when he/she was under the work-from-home arrangement… with certification by the employee concerned and the bureau/service/office head,” the DBM said.

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