Hire in Philippines
Here’s where you get started with human resources best practices and hiring in Philippines.
Philippine Piso (PHP)
Key Country Facts
The Philippines was a colony of Spain for more than 300 years, starting in 1571. Then, it became the first colony of the United States of America for forty years. It was the first Asian country to gain independence from colonizers.
Today, the Philippines is a democratic and republican nation with a presidential form of government as established by the 1987 Philippine Constitution. Separation of powers ensured through checks and balances among the three branches of government: the executive (represented by the President and his or her Cabinet), the legislative (represented by a Bicameral Congress composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives) and the judiciary (with the power of judicial review).
The Philippines is the world’s second largest archipelago nation. Situated in Southeast Asia in the Western Pacific Ocean, it consists of 7,100 islands and covers a total land area of approximately 300,000 square kilometers. Its islands are classified into three main geographical areas: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. With its topography consisting of mountainous terrains, dense forests, plains and coastal areas, the Philippines is rich in biodiversity. It is regarded as one of the mega biodiversity countries in the world with a high concentration of flora and fauna endemism.
The climate is generally tropical, with a relatively cool season from December to February as the northeast trade winds prevail. There is a hot, humid and rainy season from May to November, when the southwest monsoon prevails. Between March and May, before the arrival of the summer monsoon, the temperature rises to the highest levels of the year.
The Philippines, due to its archipelagic nature, is a culturally diverse country. The culture is a blend of traditional Filipino and Spanish culture, with influences from the US and other Asian countries like China and Japan. Spanish rule brought Catholicism to the entire country, replacing the indigenous religions and culture. American rule brought education.
- Roman Catholics 82.9%
- Muslim 4.6%
- Christian 5.4%
- Others 7.1%
The majority (63.7%) of Filipinos over the age of 5 can speak English (82% in Manila and 70% in the biggest island of Luzon). However, 96.4% of Filipinos speak Tagalog, which is the official language. There are 150 recognized languages and dialects spoken in homes across the Philippines.
Philippines HR at a Glance
The Filipino Labor Code is the country’s general employment legislation, which regulates the relationship between employees and their employer as well as all other employment-related matters. The law applies to all Filipino enterprises, joint ventures and all employment relationships between Filipino nationals and foreign enterprises.
There are other special laws specifying statutory minimum employment benefits and standards, with which an employer must legally comply. These include the Social Security and Sexual Harassment Laws and the National Health Insurance and Comprehensive Dangerous Drugs Acts.
The Philippines’ Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is the main government agency responsible for enforcing employment laws in the country. DOLE monitors and administers employers’ compliance with labor standards and addresses employment-related issues through the Office of the Secretary of Labor and Employment, or through its regional offices.
Employment contracts are required in the Philippines. While a contract may be oral or written, it must satisfy the essential requirements and minimum statutory standards outlined by the Labor Code. Any element of an employment contract that fails to do so is considered invalid.
Employment contracts must comply with the basic minimum standards but can be in a tailored format. Employers can add more stringent terms and conditions with respect to certain areas.
In general, employment contracts are written in English. However, employers must provide dual language contracts, with the other language being Filipino, if the employee in question is a Filipino national. The aim is to ensure both parties understand the exact terms of the arrangement. Furthermore, the contract must clarify employment terms relating to each employee type so as to avoid confusion or disputes in the future.
In the Philippines, the maximum working hours are generally eight hours per day or 48 hours per week. Employees are entitled to a daily unpaid meal break of at least one hour or a paid meal break of 20 minutes.
The compulsory age of retirement is at 65, while optional retirement may start at age 60. This does not prevent the company and its employees from entering into contracts or agreements such as a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) or employment agreement with early retirement provisions below the minimum ages set by law.
If an employee requests for a Certificate of Employment, the employer is obliged to release it within three days of the request.
There is no requirement for the submission of work rules. In lieu of a company handbook, the company is bound by labor legislation even in the absence of any handbook. It’s safer not to have a handbook so employers don’t have a noose around the neck.
Probation Period / Trial Period
- Probation is not mandatory and cannot exceed six months.
- The services of an employee who has been engaged on a probationary basis may be terminated for a just cause or when he or she fails to qualify as a regular employee in accordance with reasonable standards made known by the employer to the employee at the time of his or her engagement.
- It’s recommended to make a decision about termination by the end of the fifth month. Employers must give a reason why the employee is being terminated. The expectations and progress should be documented, especially in the case of poor performance.
The normal working day is eight hours. This includes rest periods or breaks of less than one hour. This excludes meal periods, which must not be less than one hour.
A day-off of 24 consecutive hours following six days of work should be scheduled by the employer.
The entitlement to overtime pay or any other minimum conditions of employment is laid down by the Labor Code.
Generally, employers cannot require employees to render overtime work except in certain exemptions and provided compensation is paid. Employers must include in the contract that the employee agrees to perform overtime work.
Overtime pay refers to the additional compensation for work performed beyond eight hours a day. Overtime pay rates for work in excess of eight hours vary when it is rendered on an ordinary workday, special nonworking holiday, regular holiday, a rest day or work performed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Here are the guidelines:
- Ordinary working day: Plus 25% of the hourly rate
- Scheduled rest day : Plus 30% of the hourly rate
- Special nonworking holiday: Plus 30% of the hourly rate
- Regular holiday: Plus 30% of the hourly rate
- Night-shift differential work performed between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.: Plus 10% of the hourly rate
- If an employee works overtime on an ordinary working day, the number of overtime hours is rated at [regular hourly rate x 125%]
- If an employee performs overtime on a scheduled rest day, the number of overtime hours is rated at [regular hourly rate x 130%]
- If an employee performs overtime on a scheduled rest day, which at the same time is a special nonworking holiday, the number of overtime hours is rated at [regular hourly rate x 130% x 150%]
- If an employee performs overtime on a regular holiday, the number of overtime hours is rated at [regular hourly rate x 200% x 130%]
- If an employee performs overtime on a regular holiday, which at the same time is a scheduled rest day of the employee, the number of overtime hours is rated at [regular hourly rate x 200% x 130% x 130%]
- If an employee performs overtime on a regular holiday, which at the same time is a scheduled rest day of the employee and rendered work from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., the number of overtime hours is rated at [regular hourly rate x 200% x 130% x 130%x110%]
Those employees exempted from rendering overtime are the following: government employees, managers, officers, field personnel, family members of an employer if they depend on that employer for support, domestic helpers, people in the personal service of another and employees who are paid by results, as determined by the Secretary of the Philippines’ DOLE.
A 13th month bonus in the Philippines is mandatory and an additional Christmas 14th month bonus is customary. All employers are required to pay their rank-and-file employees the 13th month pay, regardless of the nature of their employment and irrespective of the methods by which their wages are paid, provided they worked for at least one month during a calendar year.
The 13th month pay of a rank-and-file employee should be equivalent to at least 1/12 of the total basic salary that the employee earns within a calendar year. It should be paid no later than December 24th of each year. Nonetheless, an employer may offer its rank-and-file employees half of the required 13th month pay prior to the opening of the regular school year in June and the other half on or before December 24. The frequency of payment of the 13th month pay may also be the subject of an agreement between the employer and the collective bargaining agent of its rank-and-file employees.
The Labor Code distinguishes between a rank-and-file employee and a managerial employee. A managerial employee is one who is vested with powers of prerogatives to lay down and execute management policies. This includes the power to hire, transfer, suspend, layoff, recall, discharge, assign or discipline employees – or to effectively recommend such managerial actions. All employees not covered by this definition are considered rank-and-file employees. Bonuses for managerial and other key officers are typically based on the company’s performance.
- The Philippines takes termination seriously. As a result, it’s an arduous process. Termination may only occur for just or authorized causes but the employer bears the burden of proving the lawfulness of the employee’s dismissal. Employees must offer a 30-day resignation notice specifying whether it’s with just cause. There’s no such concept as hiring and firing “at will.”
- Filipino laws recognize two categories of cause for terminating employment contracts: just cause and authorized cause. An employee dismissed for a just cause will not be entitled to severance or termination pay.
- Staff members dismissed for an authorized cause receive severance pay equivalent to at least a half or full month’s pay for every year of service, depending on the reason for their termination.
- Twin-notice process: First notice is when the employee is informed of the violation or infraction. Employers will normally set up a grievance committee where the employee has a chance to be heard. The meeting should be set five days after the first notice. There will be a period of up to 30 days for review and investigation, following which a decision is made. The second notice (a dismissal notice) is sent to the employee.
- Authorized causes include automation, downsizing, restructuring or circumstances due to financial losses. Depending on the cause, the amount of severance will be half or one month for each year of service.
- Paperwork and documentation are important and recommended.
Director fees are not paid as salary. They are taxed at 5% (3 million and below) or at 10% (above 3 million). In January 2018, rates changed (formerly 10% or 15%).
The notice period in the Philippines is 30 days, in general, but depends on the level of the position.
Redundancy / Severance Pay
- Filipino laws recognize two categories of ”cause” for terminating employment contracts: “just cause” and “authorized cause.” An employee who is dismissed for a “just cause” is not entitled to severance or termination pay. However, staff members dismissed for an “authorized cause” receive severance pay equivalent to at least a half or full month’s pay for every year of service, depending on the reason for their termination.
- In cases of retrenchment to prevent losses, illness, closure or cessation of operations not due to serious business losses, the minimum separation pay is one-half a month’s pay for every year of service. Separation due to redundancy or the installation of labor-saving devices entitles the employee to a minimum separation pay of one month’s pay for every year of service.
- Retirement benefits: In the absence of a retirement plan or agreement providing for retirement benefits of employees, an employee upon reaching the age of 60 years (optional) or more but not beyond 65 years (mandatory) who has served at least five years in the said establishment may retire and be entitled to retirement pay equivalent to at least one-half month salary for every year of service. Any fraction of at least six months is considered as one whole year. As per the Labor Code of the Philippines, unless the parties provide for broader inclusions, the term one half month salary will mean 15 days plus one-twelfth (1/12) of the 13th month pay as well as the cash equivalent of not more than five days of service incentive leave. Thus, the minimum retirement pay is one-half (1/2) month salary for every year of service, a fraction of six months being considered as one (1) whole year. “Half month salary” is to include all of the following: 15 days salary based on the latest salary rate, cash equivalent of five days service incentive leave and 1/12 of the thirteenth month pay (1/12 x 365/12 = 2.53). If the establishment has a CBA or employment contract providing for a retirement plan or benefits to employees, the employee will be entitled to receive the benefits as provided in the said CBA or contract. However, such benefits must not be less than that provided under the Labor Code.
Other Standard Items
- Taxable: Basic pay, holiday pay, premium pay, overtime pay, night-shift differential, bonus and commissions (in excess of PHP 90,000), other benefits and allowances.
- Non-taxable: De minimis benefits (approximately 3,000), relatively small value such as clothing allowance, etc., bonus threshold (first 90,000): bonuses, commissions, Christmas gifts, etc.
Typical Non-Statutory Benefits for MNCs
- There is no equivalent of a 401k in the Philippines. Very large corporations may have their own private pension plans but this is not a common practice generally.
- PhilHealth is not sufficient to cover the basics. Nowadays, it’s very common to provide supplementary insurance from a private Health Maintenance Organization (HMO). Employers will normally cover the additional cost but sometimes shared schemes are implemented. A recent taxability issue, whereby an employee is made to pay the additional tax, has raised objections against it. The rough additional cost would be 230 USD per month.
- It is common to provide housing allowance, school tuition allowance, cars, club memberships (golf clubs, especially for Japanese) for expats.
Tax and Social Security
Income Tax (National Tax)
Income tax rates in the Philippines range from 5-32% depending on gross income (see table below).
Monthly BIR Form No. 1601-C
- Manual: On or before the 10th day of the month following the month the withholding was made, except for taxes withheld for the month of December which must be filed and paid on or before January 15 of the succeeding year.
- eFPS: On or before the fifteenth day of the month following the month withholding was made, except for taxes withheld for the month of December which are to be paid on or before January 20 of the succeeding year.
|Annual Taxable Income (PHP)||Tax Rate|
|0 – 250,000||0%|
|250,000 – 400,000||20% of the excess over PHP 250,000|
|400,000 – 800,000||PHP 30,000 + 25% of the excess over PHP 400,000|
|800,000 – 2,000,000||PHP 130,000 + 30% of the excess over PHP 800,000|
|2,000,000 – 8,000,000||PHP 490,000 + 32% of the excess over PHP 2,000,000|
|>8,000,000||PHP 2,410,000 + 35% of the excess over PHP 8,000,000|
The Annual Tax Table is expected to increase again by January 1, 2023 based on the taxation laws enacted.
Local (Resident Tax)
There is a local community tax certificate, which functions like a resident tax. However, no one pays for it.
Social Security System (SSS)
It is government policy to establish a tax-exempt SSS and provide meaningful protection to members and their beneficiaries against the hazards of disability, sickness, maternity and other contingencies resulting in the loss of income or a financial burden.
Monthly contributions are based on the compensation of SSS members and payable under two programs:
- Social Security (SS): 13% of the monthly salary credit (MSC) not exceeding PHP 25,000 and paid by both employer (8.5%) and employee (4.5%), effective January 1, 2021.
- Employees’ Compensation (EC): Starting January 1, 2007, PHP 10 for employees with an MSC of PHP 14,750 and below, and PHP 30 for employees with an MSC of PHP 14,750 and up; paid by the employer only.
All premium contributions are withheld at source. Remittance schedules depend on the employer registration number, usually on a monthly basis in arrears.
Effectivity of Coverage as an SSS employer-member starts on the first day the employer hires its first employees. The employer is given 30 days from the date of employment to report the person for coverage to the SSS.
Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth)
- The National Health Insurance Program (NHIP) is a compulsory health program for employees who are included in the SSS. The NHIP basically provides health insurance coverage for employees. The government provides comprehensive health care services to Filipinos through a socialized health insurance program.
- All government and private sector employers must register with PhilHealth in order to provide social health insurance coverage to their employees.
- 4% of the MSC not exceeding PHP 80,000 is paid by both employer (2.0%) and employee (2.0%), effective January 1st, 2022. Based from the law enacted by the government, this contribution will increase at an increment of 0.05% until year 2025.
- PhilHealth benefits cover maternity plans, while health insurances do not. The main coverage of PhilHealth’s maternity plan is the prenatal checkups, delivery, postnatal check ups and newborn screening. These are to be conducted at accredited hospitals and clinics.
Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF)
- The HDMF or the PagIBIG Fund is a nationwide tax-exempt mutual provident savings system for private and government employees supported by matching mandatory contributions of their employers with housing as the primary investment.
- Mandatory coverage of the employer will take effect on the first day of business operation and that of the employee on the date of his or her employment. Coverage is not mandatory for Filipinos employed by foreign-based employers, whether deployed locally or abroad, whose respective employers are exclusively based outside of the Philippines. If the employer maintains an office or agent in the Philippines that effectively acts as an employer of the Filipino, then such office or agent will be deemed an employer. They are subject to mandatory coverage.
- 4% of the MSC not exceeding PHP 5,000 is paid by both employer (2%) and employee (2%).
|Social Security||Monthly Salary Cap (PHP)||Employer Contribution (%)||Employee Contribution (%)|
|Social Security (SS)||25,000||8.5||4.5|
|Health Insurance (PhilHealth)*||80,000||2.0||2.0|
|Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF)||5,000||2.0||2.0|
*PhilHealth contribution rates are expected to increase annually through 2025.
**The above rates serve as a broad guideline. Actual rates charged by GoGlobal will differ.
- Wages must be paid at least once every two weeks or twice a month at intervals not exceeding sixteen days. In practice, there is a legal and technical workaround for monthly pay frequency: Single payment representing two pay periods/intervals: (a) two weeks pay for service already rendered and (b) two weeks advance pay in order to comply with the requirement of interval not exceeding sixteen days.
- Payment usually falls on the 15th of the month or the last day of the month.
Payslips can be issued online or paper.
Timesheets & Record Keeping
Employers are required to retain employment records for at least three years (as hard copies) from the date of the last entry in the records. This includes payroll records, timesheet records, medical examinations and a logbook that records employees’ sickness, injury or death in chronological order. Entries in the logbook must be made within five days from notice of the occurrence.
Accounting records (which may include payroll records) must be retained for 10 years. For the first five years, hard copies must be retained. Electronic copies are acceptable thereafter.
In the Philippines, holidays are classified as regular or special holidays each year. There are currently 12 regular holidays and eight special non-working holidays.
- Employers are required to pay their employees regular daily wage for every unworked regular holiday. If employees are required to work on these holidays, they are entitled to be paid at twice the rate of their regular wage or salary.
- The rate for work on a regular holiday will vary if the regular holiday work is performed during the period between 12 midnight through 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. through 12 midnight of the regular holiday.
Special Non-working Holiday
- Additional holidays can be promulgated from time to time. Some public holidays are promulgated only for certain regions or provinces.
- Employees not required to work on these special days are not legally entitled to compensation.
- Work performed on these days by non-exempt employees, however, merits compensation equivalent to the applicable wage rate plus at least 30% thereof. If the special day also happens to be the non-exempt employee’s scheduled rest day, the premium rate is increased to at least 50% of the applicable wage rate. The rate for work on a special holiday will vary if the special holiday work is rendered during the period between 12 midnight through 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. through 12 midnight of the special holiday.
Employees are entitled to five days of paid vacation leave after 12 months of service, referred to as service incentive leave (SIL) by the Labor Code.
Generally, this SIL is only for low income or blue-collar workers who may not receive annual leave as part of their contracts.
The service incentive leave should be converted to its money equivalent and paid to the nonexempt employee by the employer if not used or exhausted by the said employee at the end of the year. As a rule, an employer can regulate the schedule of the service incentive leave of its employees.
- Staff members are not legally entitled to statutory sick leave. In practice, employees are usually granted sick leave through voluntary employer policies or CBAs.
- An employee who has paid at least three monthly SSS contributions in the 12-month period immediately preceding the period of sickness or injury and is confined for more than three days in a hospital (or elsewhere with the approval of the SSS) will be paid by his or her employer a daily sickness benefit. This is equivalent to 90% of his or her average daily salary credit for each day of confinement. However, this allowance will only start to be paid after all allowable sick leave (with full pay from the employer) has been exhausted.
- A female employee, who has rendered a continuous aggregate service of at least six months for the last twelve months, is entitled to a special leave benefit of two months with full pay based on her gross monthly compensation, following surgery caused by gynecological disorders.
The SSS will reimburse the employer 100% of the daily sickness benefits, provided the SSS receives satisfactory proof and the legality of that payment. The employer must also notify the SSS of the confinement within five calendar days after receipt of the notification of sickness or injury from the employee.
Employees who become ill or experience work-related injuries can make a claim to the Employees’ Compensation Program (ECP). The ECP is designed to provide assistance (in the form of medical services, rehabilitation services or income cash benefit) to employees for work-related injury, sickness, disability or death.
Only the employer is required to pay monthly contributions, as no contribution is due from the employee. The employer’s contributions for the ECP comprise the State Insurance Fund, which is the source of compensation for approved claims.
Maternity & Parental Leave
The Filipino Labor Code grants up to 105 days of paid maternity leave for female employees. An additional 15 days is granted if the mother is a single parent.
A female member of the SSS, who has paid at least three monthly contributions in the 12-month period immediately preceding her childbirth or miscarriage, will be paid a daily maternity leave benefit equivalent to 100% of the average daily salary credit. This is based not on actual salary but on the SSS graduated scale, with a maximum monthly salary credit of PHP 15,000.
This is subject to the conditions outlined by the SSS, including notification requirements (Republic Act No. 8282, SSS Law of 1997, section 14-A).
Full payment of the maternity leave benefit will be advanced by the employer within 30 days from the filing of the maternity leave application. The SSS will immediately reimburse the employer 100% of the amount of maternity leave benefits advanced to the employee upon receipt of satisfactory proof of that payment.
In addition to the maternity leave benefit, the Republic Act No. 9710, also known as the “Magna Carta for Women,” guarantees access for women to services, such as:
- Maternal care including pre and postnatal services to address pregnancy and infant health and nutrition
- Promotion of breastfeeding
- Responsible, ethical, legal, safe and effective methods for family planning
Seven days of paid paternity leave is offered for male employees.
Other Statutory Leaves
In addition to leave privileges under existing laws, parental leave of not more than seven working days every year is granted to any solo parent employee as defined in the law who has rendered service of at least one year. A change in the status or circumstance of the parent claiming the parental leave benefit (e.g. he or she is no longer left alone with the responsibility of parenthood) will end his or her eligibility for the benefit. Unused parental leave benefits are not able to be converted into cash and cannot be accumulated.
Domestic Violence Leave
A victim of violence against women and their children who is employed is entitled to paid leaves of up to 10 days in addition to paid leaves under other laws. This is extendible when the necessity arises, as specified in a protection order issued by an appropriate authority. The availability of the 10-day leave is at the option of the female employee. Such leave will cover the days that the employee has to attend to medical and legal concerns. Unused leaves are not cumulative and not convertible to cash.
Other Non-statutory Leaves
Other leaves. such as marriage or death of a relative, are not statutory but commonly offered to employees per company’s policy.
Special Leave for Women
Employees who have served at least six months of continuous service with the employer are entitled to a special leave benefit of two months with full pay (based on gross monthly compensation), for treatment or surgery having to do with gynecological disorders. A medical certification is required.
Pre-employment physical examinations should be conducted to assess the physical condition of the prospective employee when they are hired. This is also intended to prevent the placement of an individual on a job where, through some physical or mental defects, he or she may be dangerous to his or her fellow workers or to property.
The Occupational Safety and Health Standards also require annual physical examinations. All examinations should be completed thoroughly and be performed free of charge for the employees. Examinations should include x-ray or special laboratory examinations when necessary due to the particular nature of the employment. Records of physical examinations and all information obtained by health personnel should be held strictly confidential.
Labor unions are usually for factory workers and the manufacturing industry. However, banks may have unions. Supervisor upwards are not usually members of the union.
Some expat employees for MNCs may use a flat tax regime of 15%.
There are several classifications of expat workers in the Philippines, depending on the length of stay. For aggregate stays of less than 180 days in a calendar year, a 25% tax withholding will apply. For longer stays, the regular tax rates of 5-32% will apply. The special 15% tax rate only applies to managerial and technical employees of MNCs, offshore banking units and petroleum services.
Visas and Foreign Workers
Work permits take time to process. The application and approval processes for hiring in the Philippines vary. There are two government agencies that handle visas: The Department of Labor and Employment and the Bureau of Immigration.
Foreign nationals and expats must apply for an Alien Employment Permit (AEP), issued by the Department of Labor and Employment, and a 9G Employment Visa, issued by the Bureau of Immigration. The 9G grants foreign nationals permission to live and work in the Philippines. To be issued a 9G visa, there must be a Philippines corporate employer to sponsor and validate the type of employment. A provisional work visa is available in the interim while the 9G visa is being approved.
Application for an employment visa takes three to four months.
Public Holidays in 2022
|1.||New Year’s Day (Regular)||January 1st|
|2.||Lunar New Year (Special)||February 1st|
|3.||EDSA Revolution Anniversary (Special)||February 25th|
|4.||Day of Valour (Regular)||April 9th|
|5.||Maundy Thursday (Regular)||April 14th|
|6.||Good Friday (Regular)||April 15th|
|7.||Black Saturday (Special)||April 16th|
|8.||Labour Day (Regular)||May 1st|
|9.||Independence Day (Regular)||June 12th|
|10.||Ninoy Aquino Day (Special)||August 21st|
|11.||National Heroes Day (Regular)||August 29th|
|12.||Special (Non-Working) Day||October 31st|
|12.||All Saints’ Day (Special)||November 1st|
|13.||Bonifacio Day (Regular)||November 30th|
|14.||Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary (Special)||December 8th|
|15.||Christmas Day (Regular)||December 25th|
|16.||Rizal Day (Regular)||December 30th|
Note: Confirmation of public holidays for Eid Al Fitr and Eid al-Adha will be announced separately.
*Regular and special public holidays vary in the rates of premium pay if an employee were to work on that day, with 100% premium on basic pay for regular holidays and 30% premium on basic pay for special holidays.