Worker Rights in the Philippines

The Philippines is an independent island country that lies in the Pacific Ocean. It is located in the Southeast of Asia and consists of 7,107 islands that are divided in three main areas including Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Despite having suffered from reoccurring economic recessions in the past, the country is famous for its exports of cooper, petroleum, coconut oil and fruits, and its economy is currently the 39th largest in the world.

Today, the jobs that provide “decent work” in the Philippines are associated with the high growth industries that include agribusiness, business process outsourcing (BPO), manufacturing, logistics, mining, and tourism. Over the years, the country’s labor market has shifted from the agriculture and industry sectors to the service sector which is led by the BPO companies and currently provides the main source of economic development.

Check out the following information that might prove to be useful to you once you decide to travel to the country or if you are about to start employment.

See also: 5 Unique Jobs From Across Asia


If you are US citizen and planning to visit the Philippines for up to 30 days or less, you don’t need a visa before you travel to the country as long as you can show a valid passport for at least six months and a valid return ticket. However, if you are planning to stay for longer than 30 days, you must apply for a visa at the Philippine Consular Establishment in the US before you travel or as soon as you arrive in the Philippines by visiting the Bureau of Immigration (IB) that’s located in Manila.

There are a number of visas that you can obtain depending on the purpose of your travel. Apart from the tourist visa which is issued either for trips made for business, pleasure or health purposes, there are also another two types of visas associated with employment laws that are as follows:

Treaty Traders/Investors Visa

You should apply for this visa if you want to enter the Philippines to develop and direct the operations of an enterprise in the country where either you or your employer have invested in a significant amount of capital. In order to this, you and your employer must have the same nationality.

Pre-arranged Employment Visa

You should apply for this visa if you want to engage in any lawful occupation that offers any form of compensation, e.g. a wage or salary where initial associations with an existing employer have already been made. For some professions, you may need to present a job offer from a Philippine-based company to be able to work.

A pre-arranged employment visa can be obtained only upon receipt from the Consular Office after providing some proof of your place of residence and ensuring that you meet all the requirements that can make you eligible to apply for a work visa. If you want to know more, click here to learn what you need in order to get your pre-arranged employment visa.

As a foreign national, you will need to obtain an Alien Employment Permit (AEP) which is necessary to get a work visa. Once it’s approved, you need to submit your visa application to the IB.

Employment Rights

The Republic of the Philippines offers the following rights to workers according to the 1987 Philippine Constitution:

  • Equal opportunities for all, collective bargaining and peaceful negotiations including the right to strike in accordance to the law.
  • Security of tenure, human conditions of work and living wage.
  • Participation in policy- and decision-making processes regarding their rights.
  • A fair share in the fruits production and the right of employers to get returns on investments.

Working Conditions/Benefits

Minimum Wage

The minimum wage rates in the Philippines vary from region to region. According to the most recent wage order for the National Capital Region, the minimum gross basic wage which is often referred to as “Manila Rate” is PHP26 per day, plus a cost of living allowance of PHP30 per day. According to the NWPC, workers in the non-plantation agricultural sector are paid 205 pesos per day in the Ilocos Region compared to 466 pesos per day in the non-agricultural sector in the National Capital Region.

Work Hours

The working hours follow the regular office hours as they don’t exceed 8 hours day. The health personnel referring to physicians, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, nutritionists, paramedics, psychologists, midwives also work eight hours a day for five days a week unless they are required to work for six days a week which makes them entitled to receiving an additional compensation of at least 30 percent of their regular wage.

Night shifts (10pm to 6am) also offer compensation to workers as they receive 10 percent more of their regular wage and overtime work pays them up to 25 percent of the regular wage per hour worked. Also, workers have the right to get a day off after six days of work.

See Also: Living and Working in Japan

If you are considering travelling to the Philippines for work, perhaps you should take a closer look at the different employment laws that are in place so that you ensure you are well aware of your rights as a full-time worker.

Have you ever lived or worked in the Philippines? What would you advise people who haven’t? Let us know your best experiences in the comments section below…