Forced Leave in the Philippines, According to DOLE

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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  1. we’re more than 6 mos. on forced leave, what can we do? is long forced leave covered by the labor code? thanks a lot

  2. Hi, are the force leave employees entitle to have their legal holiday pays ??
    They were force leave last December 2015. So they assume somehow that they are entitle since their status is not resign. Force leave lang for the mean time.
    Thanks lot.

  3. Hi Arlen, I had an experience in Force leave with my previous employer. I was the HR officer then.
    Since you are on leave without pay on the day immediately preceding the holidays, you are not entitled to Holiday pay.

    However, for humanitarian reason, we considered paying the holidays of our employees on forced leave. It’s not the fault of the employees that the company has no production that time.

  4. Hi, if an employee was subject to a force leave by his employer before a legal holiday, is the legal holiday paid or not? Thank you

  5. Can the employer declare “No Production” on monthly paid employees and afterwards declare it as forced leave to minimize payment on unused Vacation Leaves?

  6. Hi Ana Dorothea, sad to say, even if the motive for the force leave seems to be with bad intent, the legal holiday is not paid. And it’s truly sad that employees need to spend a lot of time, money and effort if they plan to make legal complaints of which the result is not always favorable to them.

  7. Hi Erica, sad to say, yes, even if there seems to be a bad intent, basically they can because they can always invent proofs that there are no raw materials, no orders, etc. And another sad truth is that employees need to risk their money, time and effort and even their current jobs to be able to file legal complaints and they’re not even sure they’ll get a favorable result.

  8. Hi Erica, sad to say, yes, even if there seems to be a bad intent, basically they can because they can always invent proofs that there are no raw materials, no orders, etc. The DOLE’s requirement is they should notify the DOLE office that has jurisdiction over their location, using the DOLE form titled Report on the Adoption of Flexible Work Arrangements During Economic Difficulties and National Emergencies.
    And another sad truth is that employees need to risk their money, time and effort and even their current jobs to be able to file legal complaints and they’re not even sure they’ll get a favorable result.

  9. I was placed on forced leave January 27, 2016. Downturn of Business, reason given for such action reflected on the Forced Leave document advising me that as soon as business improves, I will be called back to resume employment as I am a Regular employee.
    However, I have found Job Postings for the same position I held to be open and need for filling external hires. This came as a shock, hiring someone else rather than putting me back, is a stab to the face. I have both, Forced Leave document and screenshots from both my mobile and laptop of the Job Posting for BDM.
    Please advise should I take this further? Am I entitled to compensation from their indiscretion?

  10. Hi Jerome, that’s sad and horrible. Call your HR and ask them about the posting and why they did not call you back instead. If they don’t respond positively, you can go to DOLE and ask for help.

  11. Hi Nora! Regarding forced leaves, our sister compnay’s HR said that forced leaves should be paid and the holidays within it, unless if we pass some requirements to DOLE. It’s somehow opposing to your replies. Can you expound and by any instance, do you know what are the requirements? Thank you.

  12. hi, regarding force leaves, our employer said they will place us on a force leaves because of out of stocks for about a week, without pay. Thus, we are the one who made money for the company and also a regular employee.
    Please DOLE, help me to understand further about this force leaves.
    hoping for your immediate response.
    thank you

  13. hi, my mother has been given a forced leave for about 2 weeks twice and the hr confirmed that her leave will be noted as paid however the company hr only give a VL form signed by the president as per HR without a name. I do not think the company is having a financial problem as they are processing for company expansion. I strongly believe that its their way to lay off regular employees who are servicing them for a long time and its quite alarming that they are indirectly bringing up the subject about resignation and early retirement. From the given reason, may we ask what are the possible sop in confronting about this issue with their management. appreciate your kind response. thank you so much.

  14. Hi, hi, regarding “force leaves”, our employer will place us on a force leaves due to lack or requirements “no atm – salary on hold” Please DOLE, help me to understand further about this force leaves. hoping for your immediate response. Thank you

  15. Hi Victoria, forced leave kayo dahil lang sa wala pang atm? Ang allowed reason for forced leave is itigil muna ang pasok kasi walang project na matrabaho so huwag muna pumasok ang mga employees para ma-save yong company at hindi mag-close. At dapat sinasabi yan ahead of time sa employees. You can write DOLE here: DOLE complaint page.

  16. Hi. I was put on forced leave, starting September 2016 until now, together with the rest of the staff because our current Presidents wants a stop on online gambling. My question is how long can the employer put us on forced leave? and is forced leave legal? I have searched everywhere and I can’t seems to find answers to my question. I hope you can enlighten me. Thanks in advance!

  17. Hi Claire, I had notes about Forced Leave since 2009, the year I wrote about my own experiences about Forced Leave. Since you asked about it, I continued my temporarily-stopped research, and wrote an article. It’s not yet complete, but it already has lots of info. I hope I can answer some of your questions. Ask again, if you have, so I can also see what things I missed, and I hope I can answer. I’ll say I don’t know the answer if I really don’t know. Here’s my post: Notes on Forced Leave. I’ll try to complete this post tonight.

  18. Hi ask ko lang po my brother has been hospitalized and diagnosed with tb. After he is suggested by the doctor to have a sick leave for a month. After one month he was given a fit to work certification bu thw doctor. But the company wont let him repot to work because of his bmi is still very low. As for our understanding he was not yet requested to rwport from work because of his condition and thwy want him to finish the 6 month medication. His vl was already consumed. May benefits pa po ba siya na marereceive like salary or 13th month or sss sick leave until he completed the 6 month medication? Pls enlighten lang po. Salamat

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