Working conditions

What to expect from a Filipino work environment

Working conditions

The working conditions in the Philippines vary dramatically depending on the type of job you do. Be prepared for conditions that may vary drastically from what you are used to.

Those working in higher level positions will generally enjoy better benefits, pay and a good work environment. People with less skilled employment have little job security, pay can be very low by western standards and often they work for long hours or in dangerous conditions.

As an expat you will probably have to adapt to more basic facilities, a lower wage and less health and safety regulations than you may be used to in your home country. That said, the Department of Labour and Employment is responsible for making and implementing policies to ensure fair work practices. There are laws guaranteeing equal opportunities, equal pay, overtime, holiday benefits and safety at work for all.

Working hours

Most expat workers work an average of 8 hours per day with a lunch break of around an hour. The law states that employers are only required to give employees one day off a week, but depending on your job most get weekends off. If you work a night-shift you will be paid a bonus of not less than 10% of your regular wage.


Workers aren’t required to work on national holidays, if they do they are paid an overtime rate depending how long they work and whether the holiday is on a weekend or not. The Philippines has 18 official holidays per year plus any day a general election is held. In addition to this after one year of service an employee is entitled to a further 5 days of paid holiday.

Sick Leave and Insurance Contributions

Employees and employers are required to pay monthly into the social security system, this is mandatory. Part of this goes towards medical insurance and home development mutual fund (HDMF) contributions. If you are self-employed you can opt out of paying the latter two. The employee’s contribution is calculated based on their monthly salary.

Employees are entitled to sick leave but how much varies from company to company. Due to abuse of paid sick leave employers usually require a medical certificate for any leave taken.

Further reading

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