international employment law firm alliance L&E Global

Philippines: Compensability of Remote Work Injuries

On 26 January 2024, the Philippine Statistics Authority released its 2021/2022 Integrated Survey on Labour and Employment (“ISLE”), a nationwide survey covering inquiries on employment, occupational safety and health practices, and occupational injuries and diseases, among others. The ISLE made specific mention of alternative work arrangements that have been adopted by business establishments and workers in the Philippines. It is no surprise that, among the various alternative work arrangements, remote work or “work-from-home” (“WFH”) remains the most popular form among Filipino employees, with 70.7% of the workforce who are allowed alternative work arrangements preferring working from home over workweek reduction and hybrid arrangements.[1]

Remote work is undeniably appealing. Tasks may now be done in the comfort of one’s home, without the need to brave the notorious traffic in major cities in the Philippines, all while decreasing employees’ costs on transportation. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Philippine government recognised the value of remote work due to the rapid breakthroughs in technology, such as significant improvement in internet coverage and affordability in the Philippines[2] and increased access by the public to more affordable devices. In 2018, the Philippines passed into law Republic Act No. 11165, also known as the “Telecommuting Act,” in recognition of the mandate of the State to protect the rights of remote employees and promote their welfare. In 2022, the Department of Labour and Employment issued Department Order No. 237 series of 2022 or the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 11165, which categorically states that work performed in an alternative workplace (such as one’s home) shall be considered as work performed in the regular workplace of the employer.[3]

The popularity of the WFH arrangement opens an unexplored area of discussion on compliance with minimum labour and occupational health standards that must nonetheless be observed by employers for all workers, whether working from home or in traditional offices. A particularly challenging angle that employers are now constrained to face is injuries incurred by their employees in the course of working from home and its compensability under the law. The WFH arrangement sets a predicament on how to differentiate remote workers from and on-site workers in the event of work-related contingencies, such as sickness, injury, disability, or death.

Compensability for injuries incurred at the traditional workplace has well-defined parameters. For an occupational disease and the resulting disability or death to be compensable, the following threshold must be satisfied:

a) The employee’s work and/or the working conditions must involve risk/s that caused the development of the illness;

b) The disease was contracted as a result of the employee’s exposure to the described risks;

c) The disease was contracted within a period of exposure and under such other factors necessary to contract it; and

d) There was no deliberate act on the part of the employee to disregard the safety measures or ignore established warning or precaution.


These requirements are ordinarily applied for onsite workers, whose conditions of employment are readily monitored by their employers. With the advent of WFH arrangements and the creation of a unique classification of employees who are performing remote work, there appears to be a gap in applying the conditions for compensable injuries incurred by remote workers. This gap was finally addressed by the Employees’ Compensation Commission (“ECC”), a government agency mandated by law to provide meaningful and appropriate compensation to workers in the event of work-related contingencies.

The ECC Board accordingly issued in March 2021 Board Resolution No. 21-03-09, which created a policy on “the compensability of disability or death due to injuries sustained by the employees in the public and private sector while in the performance of their duties or assigned tasks in their residences or dwelling places.”[4] This policy extends disability or death benefits due to a work-connected injury or death to employees and/or their qualified beneficiaries while in the performance of their duties or specific tasks, even outside of workplaces.

Board Resolution No. 21-03-09 provides that disability or death due to injuries sustained by the employees while working from home will be compensable under the Employees’ Compensation Program (“ECP”), subject to the following conditions:

a) There must be a written directive or order from his or her employer requiring a work-from-home arrangement or the performance of specific tasks within a specified period at the residence or dwelling place of the employee; and

b) The death occurred or the injury was sustained while the employee was discharging his or her duties or assigned tasks within the said specified period.[5]


Employees who suffer from disability or death resulting from injuries sustained while working remotely now have the opportunity to access benefits through the ECP.[6]

The ECP is a government program aimed at offering a comprehensive compensation package to eligible public and private employees, as well as their dependents, in the event of work-related illnesses, injuries, or death. This program operates solely on employer contributions, meaning employees are not required to contribute any funds.

Through the ECP, workers affected by work-related illnesses, injuries, or death are entitled to a range of benefits, including loss of income benefits, medical benefits, and death and funeral benefits.

This policy in essence arose from a recognition that remote employees are not exempt from the possible occurrence of work-connected disabilities or deaths due to injury-related incidents. The key question to determine compensability is evidently the same for both on-site and remote employees – whether or not the injury arose in the course of employment.

The burden to prove compensability is borne by the remote employee claiming compensability for his or her disability due to injuries sustained while working from home. The employee must prove that first, there was written directive or order from their employer requiring a work-from-home arrangement, which can be seen from the telecommuting program the employee entered into with their employer[7], and second, death occurred, or the injury was sustained while the employee was discharging their duties or assigned tasks within the said specified period.

Absent these above conditions set in law, claims for compensability of work-related injuries by employees who are working remotely, must necessarily fail, even if sustained in the course of their employment.

The Philippine legal landscape continues to ensure that Filipino employees who are enjoying WFH setups or hybrid work arrangements are assured entitlement to benefits due to work-related injuries they sustained at home. The rise of WFH arrangements has brought about new challenges in determining compensable work-from-home injuries. By understanding the factors involved, implementing preventive measures, and staying informed about legal considerations, employers can create a safe and supportive work environment, even in remote settings.


[1] “Highlights of the 2021/2022 Integrated Survey on Labor and Employment: Module on Employment” (2024). Philippine Statistics Authority. Accessed 12 February 2024 through

[2] Serafica, Francisco and Oren (2003). Philippine Institute for Development Studies. “Making Broadband Universal: A Review of Philippine Policies and Strategies”.

[3] Section 4, Department Order No. 237 series of 2022

[4] ECC Board Resolution No. 21-03-09.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] Sec. 4, Rep. Act No. 11165.