June 29, 2022

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Tax agencies should keep up with global trend toward flexible work — ADB

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Cognitive jobs that require data interpretation, analysis, and creative thinking — characteristics that are prevalent among higher educated and more skilled workers — can be done from home, said an Asian Development Bank economist. 

“What we see globally is that enterprises and workers in information-related occupations are shifting towards hybrid and even remote work arrangements,” Sameer Khatiwada, ADB Southeast Asia’s social sector specialist, told BusinessWorld in an e-mail. 

Despite the global trend of hybrid or remote work, business process outsourcing companies (BPOs) in the Philippines that operate in economic zones will be required to operate on location by September 2022, when the extension of the work-from-home set-up approved by the Fiscal and Incentives Review Board ends. 

Instead of requiring onsite work to allow the effective monitoring of fiscal incentives, Mr. Khatiwada said that “tax agencies will need to create innovative ways to strengthen tax surveillance and compliance in hybrid or remote work arrangements.” 

Cognitive jobs that can be done remotely include product design, software development, and call center operations. Back-office operations can also be done from home, although these are at risk of automation, according to Mr. Khatiwada

In a May 17 ADB blog, he differentiated cognitive jobs from manual jobs that cannot be done from home, such as driving a truck or waiting tables at a café. 

According to 2012 study in the Philippine Review of Economics

that examined 427 occupations, only 8%–10% have all tasks classified as remote; 35%–37% cannot be done remotely. The rest are a combination of onsite and remote tasks. 

The pandemic hit some occupations harder than others. Service sectors such as those in food and transportation were casualties of the lockdown and physical distancing measures. So were those in manufacturing and construction who had to cope with these disruptions. 

SOCIAL PROTECTION 

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