Basic rights of workers

Equal Work Opportunities for All

The State shall protect labor, promote full employment, provide equal work opportunity regardless of gender, race, or creed; and regulate employee-employer relations.Male and female employees are entitled to equal compensation for work of equal value and to equal access to promotion and training opportunities. Discrimination against female employees is unlawful. It is also unlawful for an employer to require a condition of employment that a woman employee shall not get married, or to stipulate expressly or tacitly that a woman employee shall be deemed dismissed upon marriage.

The minimum age of employment is 18 years for hazardous jobs, and 15 years for non-hazardous jobs. But a child below 15 maybe employed by parents or guardians in a non-hazardous job if the employment does not interfere with the child's schooling.

Security of Tenure

Every employee shall be assured security of tenure. No employee can be dismissed from work except for a just or authorized cause, and only after due process.

Just Cause refers to any wrongdoing committed by an employee including:

  1. serious misconduct;
  2. willful disobedience of employers' lawful orders connected with work;
  3. gross and habitual neglect of duty;
  4. fraud or willful breach of trust;
  5. commission of crime or offense against the employer, employer's family member/s or representative; and
  6. other analogous cases.

Authorized Cause refers to an economic circumstance not due to the employee's fault, including:

  1. the introduction of labor-saving devices;
  2. redundancy;
  3. retrenchment to prevent losses; and
  4. closure or cessation of business.

Due Process in cases of just cause involves:

  1. notice to employee of intent to dismiss and grounds for dismissal;
  2. opportunity for employee to explain his or her side; and
  3. notice of decision to dismiss.

In authorized causes, due process means written notice of dismissal to the employee specifying the grounds, at least 30 days before the date of termination.

The inability of a probationary employee to meet the employer's prescribed standards of performance made known to him or her at the time of hiring is also a just cause for dismissal.

Work Days and Work Hours

Work Day refers to any day during which an employee is regularly required to work. Hours of Work refer to all the time an employee renders actual work, or is required to be on duty or to be at a prescribed workplace. The normal hours of work in a day is 8 hours. This includes breaks or rest period of less than one hour, but excludes meal periods, which shall not be less than one hour.

An employee must be paid his or her wages for all hours worked. If all or any part of his or her regular work hours falls between 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., a covered employee shall be entitled to a night shift pay in addition to his or her pay for regular work hours. If he or she works for more than 8 hours in one day, he or she shall be entitled to overtime pay.

Weekly Rest Day

A day-off of 24 consecutive hours after 6 days of work should be scheduled by the employer upon consultation with the workers.

Wage and Wage-Related Benefits

Wage is the amount paid to an employee in exchange for a task, piece of work, or service rendered to an employer. This includes overtime, night differential, rest day, holiday and 13th month pay. It also includes the fair and reasonable value of board, lodging and other facilities customarily furnished by the employer.

Wage may be fixed for a given period, as when it is computed hourly, daily or monthly. It may also be fixed for a specified task or result. If wage is for a fixed period, the minimum wage for a regular 8-hour workday shall not be lower than the minimum daily wage applicable to the place of work as determined by the Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Board having jurisdiction over workplace.

If wage is paid by result, the worker shall receive at least the prescribed minimum wage for 8 hours of work. The amount may be increased or reduced proportionately if work is rendered for more or less than 8 hours a day.

An employer cannot make any deduction from an employee's wage except for insurance premiums with the consent of the employee, for union dues, or for withholding taxes, SSS premiums and other deductions expressly authorized by law.

Payment of Wages

Wages shall be paid in cash, legal tender at or near the place of work. Payment may be made through a bank upon written petition of majority of the workers in establishments with 25 or more employees and within one (1) kilometer radius to a bank. Payment shall be made directly to the employees.

Wages shall be given not less than once every two (2) weeks or twice within a month at intervals not exceeding 16 days.

Employment of Women

Nightwork prohibition unless allowed by the Rules:

  1. in industrial undertakings from 10PM to 6AM
  2. in commercial/non-industrial undertakings from 12MN to 6AM
  3. in agricultural undertakings, at night time unless given not less than 9 consecutive hours of rest

Welfare facilities must be installed at the workplace such as seats, separate toilet rooms, lavatories, and dressing rooms.

Prohibition against discrimination with respect to pay (i.e. equal pay for work of equal value), promotion, training opportunities, study and scholarship grants.

Employment of Children

Minimum employable age is 15 years. A worker below 15 years of age should be directly under the sole responsibility of parents or guardians; work does not interfere with child's schooling/normal development.

No person below 18 years of age can be employed in a hazardous or deleterious undertaking.

Safe Working Conditions

Employers must provide workers with every kind of on-the-job protection against injury, sickness or death through safe and healthful working conditions.

Jobs may be hazardous or highly hazardous. Hazardous jobs are those which expose the employee to dangerous environment elements, including contaminants, radiation, fire, poisonous substances, biological agents and explosives, or dangerous processes or equipment including construction, mining, quarrying, blasting, stevedoring, mechanized farming and operating heavy equipment. If you need further information on the provisions of the OSH Standards, please see OSH Standards and LCP, Book IV.

Right to Self-Organization and Collective Bargaining

The right to self-organization is the right of every worker, free of any interference from the employer or from government, to form or join any legitimate worker's organization, association or union of his or her own choice. Except those classified as managerial or confidential employees, all employees may form or join unions for purposes of collective bargaining and other legitimate concerted activities. An employee is eligible for membership in an appropriate union on the first day of his or her employment.

Collective Bargaining involves two parties:

  1. the representative of the employer
  2. a union duly authorized by the majority of the employees within a bargaining unit called exclusive bargaining agent.

It is a process where the parties agree:

  1. to fix and administer terms and conditions of employment which must not be below the minimum standards fixed by law
  2. to set a mechanism for resolving their grievances

The result of collective bargaining is a contract called collective bargaining agreement (CBA). A CBA generally has a term of five years. The provisions of a CBA may be classified as political or economic. Political provisions refer to those which define the coverage of the CBA and recognize the collective bargaining agent as the exclusive representative of the employees for the term of the CBA. Economic provisions refer to all terms and conditions of employment with a monetary value. Economic provisions have a term of five years but may be renegotiated before the end of the third year of effectivity for the CBA.

EC Benefits for Work-Related Contingencies

The Employees' Compensation Program is the tax-exempt compensation program for employees and their dependents created under Presidential Decree No. 626 which was implemented in March 1975. The benefits include:

  1. Medical benefits for sickness/injuries;
  2. Disability benefits;
  3. Rehabilitation benefits;
  4. Death and funeral benefits; and
  5. Pension benefits.