Forced Leave in the Philippines, According to DOLE

January 10, 2009 · Filed Under Career/Work 

Last December, I was put on forced leave for ten days by my employer, together with 15 other colleagues. It was good I had another source of income, otherwise  some of my payables would have not been paid.

Actually, the boss didn’t use the term “forced leave.” And she refuses to call it so. She just explained that the Philippines branch needed to cut costs for the month of December so that the U.S. parent would not close the operations in Makati. Whew! She further said that the U.S. is contemplating consolidating the Philippine operations into a location where costs are lower.

I visited the site of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), but surprisingly I couldn’t find anything on forced leaves. It’s good the site accepts queries. So I sent the following query last December:

Sir/Madam: Does the Labor Code have provisions on forced leaves? I have searched all over the site and inside the Labor Code books/chapters and I can’t find something about forced leaves. Kindly please help me find them. And please email me the links. The only things that I’ve found on the Internet about forced leaves in the Phil. are discussions about it in forum. And of course, they’re not official views. I like to know if forced leaves are legal, as I was put on forced leave starting today together with about 13 others. We’re regular employees. My manager though doesn’t like to label it as forced leave because we’re not paid by the hour, but by the number of records we write. The managers argued that they need to cut costs for the month of December, which has a lot of holidays. Thanks a lot.

And hooray, the Legal Service of DOLE answered relatively fast!

Dear Ms. Nora:

Work days may be reduced on account of losses. The reduction in the number of regular working days is resorted to by the employer to prevent serious losses due to causes beyond his control, such as when there is a substantial slump in the demand for his goods or services or when there is lack of raw materials.  This is more humane and in keeping with sound business operations than the outright termination of the services or the total closure of the enterprise.

In situations where there is valid reduction of workdays, the employer may deduct the wages and living allowances corresponding the days taken off from the workweek, in the absence of agreement specifically providing that a reduction in the number of workdays will not adversely affect the remuneration of employees.  This view is consistent on the principle of “no-work-no-pay”.  Furthermore, since the reduction of workdays is resorted to as a cost-saving measure, it would be unfair for the employer to pay the wages and living allowances even on unworked days that were taken off from the regular workweek.

Thank you for writing.

Legal Service, DOLE

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25 Responses to “Forced Leave in the Philippines, According to DOLE”

  1. Raine on January 29th, 2009 10:38 pm

    This case is somewhat similar to mine; however, the reason that my employer gave me was about my health condition. I’m an ESL company manager and was replaced by another manager at the middle of the camp. After receiving negative comments, my employer decided, without letting me explain, to give me two-week leave. She didn’t specify what kind of leave though. After that period, the salary that I received was deducted according to how many days I was on leave. Now, I’m on the process of settling this issue together with my colleagues who also have their own personal issues against our company.

  2. Nora on February 2nd, 2009 1:03 pm

    Imagine, you’re already a manager, and yet you received such treatment. Perhaps your firm was cost cutting also, and your employer had to put some on leave. Were your colleagues put on leave also? Or were you alone who was put on leave? It’s frustrating really, because we can’t find a clear provision in the Labor Code. And as you can see in DOLE’s reply to my inquiry, it’s leaning more towards the employer. DOLE seems to be saying, “Magpasalamat pa nga kayo di nagsara yang company niyo.” And you’re right about settling the issue with your employer rather than using other means, especially during this time of economic downturn. It’s not easy filing a case. Thanks, Raine, for commenting.

  3. harry oca on February 28th, 2009 12:27 am

    ano po ba ang masasabi nyo sa st peter plan may trust fund po ba sila o pareho lang ng pacific life plan na lugi din ano po ba ang proteksion naming mga plan holder?

  4. Nora on February 28th, 2009 9:47 pm

    Isa sa 24 licensed pre-need firms for 2009 yong St Peter Life Plan mo. Kaya palagay ko, ang kalagayan niya katulad din lang ng karamihan sa list na yan na kulang sa trust fund, pero nag-o-operate pa rin. Nagkukulang ang kita nila kasi yong interest rates ngayon ng mga bonds at mutual funds ay masyadong mababa kesa sa inasahan nilang 12%. Pero kung mag-okay na ang ekonomya worldwide, at naka-survive naman silang mga pre-need firms during the crisis, okay tayo, okay din ang plan mo. Sana lang magagaling at resourceful ang mga managers ng pre-need firms natin para ma-survive nila. Harry, may nalaman o nabasa ka na bang St Peter Life planholder na nag-claim last year o this 2009 na hindi nakakuha?

  5. chill on March 26th, 2009 10:03 pm

    I was put on forced leave for almost 4 months. is this legal?

  6. Nora on March 28th, 2009 11:19 am

    Hello, Chill, I don’t know. But I think that during this economic downturn, the DOLE is supporting the employers’ use of forced leaves. Just look at DOLE’s answer to my query. Parang ang sinasabi ay “Buti nga di kayo tinanggal, or buti nga di nagsara yong company ninyo.”

    Here’s a portion of DEPARTMENT ADVISORY No. 2 Series of 2009:

    Adoption of flexible work arrangements is considered as better alternative than the outright termination of the services of the employees or the total closure of the establishments.

    Forced Leave refers to one where the employees are requires to go on leave for several days or weeks utilizing their leave credits if there are any. Para mas definite yong sagot sa tanong mo, you can use this inquiry box. Yong inquiry ko, DOLE staff answered on the second day:

  7. alexis bantilan on February 26th, 2013 7:17 pm

    How about force leave due to company revisions of floor lay out?

  8. Nors on February 27th, 2013 6:20 am

    Hi Alexis, employers have the upper-hand in this case. Obviously, they don’t like to pay their employees the whole day just standing or sitting in the sidelines, waiting for the crews to rearrange things. With good planning, they could have done it on a Sunday. But if this involves machinery, one day will not be enough. Sometimes, even if these forced leaves are hard on our income, we just accept, because if we go to the DOLE and complain, I doubt if they WILL or they CAN do something. I just hope it’s not 1 week, but one or 2 days only. best regards

  9. Jhun on March 12th, 2013 10:54 pm

    Hi, forced leave confuse me a lot, I have also look into the net (DOLE site)for possible answer but end up nothing. I am wondering , if this is applied consistently to no work, no pay, how is this substantially affect the monthly paid regular employee (rank and file employee) my employer is planning to put us to forced leave and if we want or rather I want to be paid on those affected days I have to file a leave . Is this legal?

  10. Nors on March 13th, 2013 1:21 pm

    Hi Jhun, sad to say, DOLE gives considerations to employers because of the employment situation in the country. I’m a bit negative due to my past experience, but employers can always present valid and legal reasons for forced leaves using their lawyers. You can read about forced leaves at — although I’m not affiliated with this forum, I like that the lawyer there is answering as many Qs as he can.

  11. jojo on April 15th, 2013 6:34 pm

    eh pano kaya yung forced leave na 2days..kasi sarado yung deparment, stop ang operation, dahil may outreach program..yung mga hindi sumama..dapat mag forced leave?

  12. Machelle on August 12th, 2013 9:34 am

    Good morning po. May rules po ba sa force leave? Like for example dapat 2 to 3 times lang pwede mag force leave ang company within a year kapag nag force leave ulet within a year magsara na lang ang company?

  13. Nors on August 12th, 2013 2:15 pm

    Hi Machelle, doon sa rule sa flexible work arrangements, wala namang nakalagay kung ilang forced leaves in a year. Binibigyan ng Labor Dept ng leeway ang company na mag-declare ng forced leaves during economic difficulties daw to save the company and save jobs.

  14. dennis zamora on August 22nd, 2013 10:01 pm

    what if kung ang employee ay iforced leave up to 6 mo.pwede ba yun?

  15. Nors on August 23rd, 2013 3:58 pm

    Hi dennis, doon sa DOLE code about forced leave, walang nakalagay na specific number of months… nakasulat ay several weeks or months, basta huwag lang daw permanent, at basta ang reason ng forced leaves and other flexible work skeds is to save the company from getting closed.

  16. Allan on October 24th, 2013 9:49 am

    panu po kung ang project ng company ay na divert lang at hindi nawala o na dissolve at ang ginawa ng company ay pinag force leave nila at walang nakalatag na plano para sa mga empleyado na kung tutuusin ay nilipat lng sa probinsya ang trabaho.

  17. Nors on October 24th, 2013 11:10 pm

    Hi Allan, sad to say, companies always win in cases like these because they can always say it’s for the survival of the company. You can ask DOLE about your case: — Click Contact Us and then Submit Legal Query.

  18. jema on November 29th, 2013 7:56 pm

    Gudpm po.can a private school asks knder 2 teachers to forceleave fr work since mga knder 2 students will b in gr 1 this mga knder 2 tchers wla nang stdents n maituturo.mga tchers p dto ay permanent n po.ty

  19. Nora on November 30th, 2013 9:31 am

    Hi jema, do you mean your school was not able to enroll new students? I wish your school had better strategic planning. Sana sinabihan na kayo in advance. You can write DOLE and ask about your situation on this page:

  20. Jenerie on December 5th, 2013 10:10 pm

    Hello I’m so confused about force leave, naka leave na ako sa time ng low season, and ngayon this December kailangan na naman daw mag force leave is that right? because its already peak season but we are suffering of low occupancy. The reason of my employer is we don’t have a marketing staff that’s why we are in low occupancy.

  21. Nora on December 8th, 2013 3:15 pm

    Hi Jenerie, truly frustrating, pero kung low occupancy nga naman is walang perang pumapasok. What is also sad is that if we complain to DOLE, they really cannot do anything, they will just say “it’s because your company wants to survive, so it’s cutting cost, etc. etc”. Merong page sa DOLE for asking legal questions, , but ask anonymously so you won’t alienate yourself from your employer.

  22. Winnie gamboa on December 12th, 2013 11:38 pm

    If an employer puts an employee on force leave or vacation leave ( with pay), does the employee have the right to say that this is illegal? Because it lessens her total vl ,even if the day was paid by the company?

  23. Nora on December 13th, 2013 6:48 am

    Hi Winnie, sorry I’m not a labor lawyer, but I think if the company uses forced leaves to prevent the company from further financial difficulty and from closure and the company reports this forced leave remedy to the DOLE, then the forced leave is legal. I based my answer on DOLE’s advisory on Flexible Work Arrangements.

  24. kenji on January 2nd, 2014 11:59 pm

    Hi, Pwede po bang mgforceleave ang isang company, kht wla nmng loss? kasi almost 20 yata kming na forceleave, although ung project nmin is running, ang gnwa nila itnransfer kmi sa ibang project, then dun kmi na forceleave, ang reason nila is na dissolve daw ung paglilipatan nmin, is it legal? kasi ang alm ko nghhire pa rin sila ng bago, pero ung mga na fore leave is hndi pa tntwagan, gano katagal ba ung maximum na force leave, or kng pwede kming mg file ng case sa company… thanks

  25. Nora on January 3rd, 2014 11:03 pm

    Hi kenji, you can ask help from DOLE to see if you have a good case. Initially, you can inquire through the DOLE website’s Contact Page. If they’re hiring new employees to avoid your higher salaries, then maybe you have a case, but consider also the time, stress, and cost of pursuing a case.

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