All businesses in the Philippines must comply with established labor laws and policies. These regulations are enforced by the country’s Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and are implemented in conjunction with the Philippine government.
For example, regulatory bodies, services, and agencies under DOLE, such as the Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC), ensure employer compliance and help resolve issues related to wages and terms of employment.
Some employers, however, may need guidance and clarification on these regulations, policies, and programs to ensure compliance. This blog has consolidated some frequently asked questions (FAQs) that cover Philippine labor and employment laws.
We divided these FAQs into four main areas: leaves and breaks, compensation and benefits, occupational health and safety, and other related concerns.
Note: Some FAQs may need to be updated because of ongoing changes and do not establish lawyer-client relationships. They have been obtained from the official Freedom of Information website.
Leaves & Breaks
What government-mandated leaves should employers give their employees?
All employees are entitled to the following government-mandated leaves:
Service Incentive Leaves
Employees with a total tenure of a year, whether continuous or not, are entitled to an annual five-day service incentive leave with pay. Approved absences and paid regular holidays are included in the tenure when determining eligibility. The leaves are convertible to cash if not used by the end of the year.
Leaves for Solo Parents
Solo parents are entitled to an annual seven-day parental leave with pay according to Republic Act No. 8972. It covers employees with at least a six-month tenure. Also, employers must grant solo-parent employees their leaves regardless of employment status.
According to Republic Act No. 11210, pregnant female employees can take a paid 105-day maternity leave. Furthermore, female private sector workers can extend it to 30 days without pay. They only need to inform their employer about the extended leave 45 days before their maternity leave ends.
Republic Act No. 8187 (the Paternity Leave Act of 1996) requires employers to grant married male employees a paid seven-day paternal leave. A male worker can take this leave if his spouse needs support after giving birth or experiencing a miscarriage.
Paternity leaves apply to the first four deliveries of the male employee’s spouse only.
Leaves for Victims Under Republic Act No. 9262
RA 9262 (or the Anti-Violence Against Women and their Children Act of 2004) states that victims can take a 10-day paid leave. It allows these individuals to seek medical treatment and address legal concerns.
Moreover, victims can extend their leaves when necessary. Their specific protection order will determine how long the extended leave will be.
Special Leaves Under Republic Act No. 9710
Under RA 9710 (the Magna Carta of Women Act), employers must grant female workers a two-month paid leave after undergoing surgery for gynecological disorders. Employees with at least six months of service can qualify for this benefit.
Are employees entitled to a pandemic leave?
Philippine labor laws don’t require employers to give COVID-infected employees or close contacts of COVID-infected individuals pandemic leaves. However, DOLE recommends granting paid isolation and quarantine leaves to these workers.
COVID-positive employees with no more available sick leaves can use their SSS sickness benefit. It’s a daily cash allowance for every sick day they use.
What are the allowed break periods under Philippine labor laws?
Employees are entitled to take meal breaks, lactation breaks (for female employees), and short rest periods.
Under Article 85 of the Philippine Labor Code, employers should allow workers to take a 60-minute meal break, which could be shortened to 20 minutes if:
- Employees perform non-manual or fewer physical tasks
- The business operates 16 hours daily
- Employees work during actual or imminent emergencies, or they need to fix any machine, equipment, or installation
- Workers need to preserve perishable goods
Please note that meal breaks that are less than 60 minutes must be credited as compensable hours worked by the employee.
Lactation breaks make it conducive for female employees to breastfeed or express milk during their workday, which should be no less than 40 minutes for every eight-hour shift.
The Philippine Labor Code’s Omnibus Rules defines short breaks as anywhere between 5 to 20-minute rest periods during an employee’s working hours.
Can employees still take paid leaves after they’ve provided a 30-day resignation notice?
Outgoing employees tendering their resignation can take personal leaves provided they give advanced notice and secure their direct manager’s approval.
Salaries & Benefits
When should a resigned or terminated employee receive their final pay?
An employer must release an employee’s final pay within 30 days of their resignation or termination date. If employees wish to raise issues related to their final pay, they can file a claim at their nearest DOLE regional, provincial, or field office, which DOLE will mediate and review.
Can employees who have resigned receive separation pay?
Employers can only give separation pay to employees if they were terminated for an authorized cause, such as a business closure or lay-off. Meanwhile, a resigned employee can receive separation pay if the company policy or an individual or collective bargaining agreement allows it.
How long should a foreign employee’s contract last?
A foreign employee’s contract is generally valid for three years. Their Alien Employment Permit (AEP) can last up to that maximum period.
An AEP applies to the foreign worker’s current role and employer. Otherwise, they must obtain a new permit.
Do 13th-month pay calculations include offset days?
13th-month pay calculations must cover one-twelfth (1/12) of an employee’s total basic salary earned during the year. This condition applies whether the worker had offset days or not.
Who can receive 13th-month pay?
Rank-and-file employees from the private sector are entitled to 13th-month pay. In particular, workers of any position, job title, or employment status can receive this benefit. Employees must receive their 13th-month pay, whether they are paid daily, bi-monthly, or monthly, provided that they have rendered at least 30 days of service.
Can employers deduct paid leaves from 13th-month pay computations?
DOLE has included paid leaves in its sample 13th-month pay computation, and employers must comply with these guidelines when calculating this benefit. However, maternity leaves and leaves that fall under RA 9710 should be excluded from the 13th-month pay calculations. Female employees can extend these leaves, thereby converting them into deductibles.
Are solo parents entitled to special benefits?
A single parent’s special benefits cover flexible working schedules, telecommuting, and parental leaves.
Flexible working schedules and the telecommuting program should benefit single parents without hampering the employee’s productivity. Meanwhile, solo parents may take an annual paid parental leave for seven days, but they must have rendered at least six months of service to receive this benefit.
What do Philippine labor laws say about late salaries?
Article 103 of the Labor Code mandates employers to pay workers once every two weeks or twice a month. Employee paydays should fall after every 16 days.
But if employers can’t release salaries due to issues beyond their control, they must remit them afterward. More importantly, companies must follow the prescribed frequency for paying salaries.
Can furloughed employees receive 13th-month pay and other benefits?
As stated by Department Order No. 215-20 from DOLE, the benefits of a furloughed employee should not be compromised. Simply put, individuals with temporarily suspended employment will receive their 13th-month pay and benefits. These employees can file complaints at their nearest DOLE regional or field office if they feel their companies have breached their rights.
Does the law require employers to withhold a suspended worker’s pay?
An employer will withhold a suspended employee’s compensation. If the employee is suspended due to a pending investigation, and if the employer decides to extend the worker’s preventive suspension period, they must give the individual their salary and benefits.
Occupational Health & Safety
Can companies hire or outsource an occupational safety nurse?
Companies can outsource an occupational safety nurse, but they should prepare employment contracts for these accredited occupational health professionals. Ideally, nurses should be licensed practitioners with at least 50 hours of basic occupational nursing training.
Can an employee be both an Occupational Health Nurse & a Safety Officer?
Workers in micro and small companies with low to medium exposure risk can assume the role of an occupational health (OH) nurse and safety officer, provided they attend the training for both positions. Safety officers must undergo an occupational safety and health orientation (OSH) or training course—and any additional training—while OH nurses should receive at least 40 hours of basic OSH training.
Who should orient companies on occupational safety & health?
Employers can instruct safety officers to facilitate or invite a certified OSH professional to conduct a mandatory OSH seminar. The ideal person for conducting the training, however, is an in-house safety officer because they’re already familiar with the risks and hazards of their workplace.
Which documents should employers present to DOLE after an OSH orientation?
DOLE inspectors may ask employers to submit a certificate of attendance, the attendance sheet, and other documents proving that they conducted an OSH seminar which should be presented during workplace inspections.
Should an employer shoulder medical expenses if an employee gets sick or injured in a company-provided accommodation?
In 2012, the Employees’ Compensation Commission declared that employers must provide compensation for injuries in furnished employee accommodation. This policy covers injuries causing disability or death, except if:
- They got injured while intoxicated;
- They tried to cause personal hurt or harm intentionally; and
- They were negligent, putting themselves at risk of injury
How can employees obtain a DOLE certificate for unemployment insurance?
Involuntarily separated workers in the Philippines can apply for this certificate at their nearest DOLE field or provincial office. Employees who apply must bring at least one valid ID and a copy of their termination notice from their former employer or a duly notarized Affidavit of Termination of Employment.
How long should a worker’s probationary period last?
An employee’s probationary period only covers the first six months from their start date. The probationary period may extend if the employer and the employee have established an apprenticeship agreement with a longer duration.
What is the maximum number of overtime hours an employee can render?
The Labor Code doesn’t set a maximum number of overtime hours. It only states that employees can work beyond the regular eight-hour working schedule daily.
However, the DOLE has established prescribed maximum overtime hours for select industries. For example, bus drivers and conductors working overtime can only work up to 12 hours daily.
Can an individual work in a private company without an employment contract?
There is no need for a formal employment contract because consent from both an employer and employee establishes an employment relationship.
Employers can create contracting and subcontracting arrangements, according to DOLE’s Department Order No. 18-A. However, establishing employment contracts is the best way to help companies and employees review agreements made during a job offer.
How do you know whether a worker is under a company or not?
In G.R. No. 169510, the Supreme Court describes how the four-fold test determines whether an employee-employer relationship exists. It includes the criteria below:
- How the employer selected and engaged the worker,
- How the employee receives compensation
- If the employer can dismiss an employee, and
- If the company can control the employee’s conduct (the control test).
Can an employer prevent a suspended worker from resigning?
An employer cannot prevent a suspended worker from resigning. If the suspended employee resigns, they must provide a written 30-day notice to give the employer ample time to hire and onboard their replacement. Furthermore, the employee should accomplish their clearance before their resignation date.
Get Expert Help for Any Labor & Employment Concerns
Ensure compliance by staying ahead of the latest HR regulations. For further questions or clarifications, tap Sprout’s Professional Services team for your peace of mind. Contact our HR and legal experts today for labor and employment concerns.