Forced Labour

This page was last updated on: 2021-12-27

Prohibition on Forced and Compulsory Labour

There are no provisions on the prohibition on forced labor in the Constitution or the Labour Code. Instead the relevant provisions are contained within the Republic Act No. 9208 passed in 2003, (amended by the Republic Act No. 10364 of 2012). The said Act defines forced labour as “the extraction of work or services from any person by means of enticement, violence, intimidation or threat, use of force or coercion, including deprivation of freedom, abuse of authority or moral ascendancy, debt-bondage or deception including any work or service extracted from any person under the menace of penalty” and prohibits the use, adoption, recruitment and transfer of persons for the purpose of forced labour and slavery. In addition, the Act also criminalises any attempt to use persons for the purposes of forced labour and has also introduced liability for accomplices involved.

For persons who are found to be performing the act of using, adopting, recruiting and transfer of persons for the purposes of forced labor and slavery, the law imposes a penalty of imprisonment of twenty years and a fine of one million to two million pesos.

The punishment for person involved in the attempt of any such act or those who are found to be an accomplice is 15 years imprisonment and a fine of five hundred thousand to one million pesos.

Source: §3, 4, and 10 of the Republic Act No. 9208 (2003) as amended by the Act No. 10364 (2012)

Freedom to Change Jobs and Right to Quit

An employee may terminate without just cause the employee-employer relationship by serving a written notice at least one (1) month in advance. Employee can be held liable for damages if no such notice was served. The employer upon whom no such notice was served may hold the employee liable for damages. An employee may put an end to the relationship without serving any notice on the employer for any of the following just causes:

  1. Serious insult by the employer or his representative on the honor and person of the employee;
  2. Inhuman and unbearable treatment accorded the employee by the employer or his representative;
  3. Commission of a crime or offense by the employer or his representative against the person of the employee or any of the immediate members of his family; and
  4. Other causes analogous to any of the foregoing.

Source: §300 of the Labour Code, as amended

Inhumane Working Conditions

The normal hours of work of any employee cannot exceed eight (8) hours a day. There is no clear provision in the Labour Code specifying the maximum hours of work inclusive of overtime.

Source: §82, 83, 84, 87, 88 and 89 of the Labour Code, as amended