Permanent employees

1. Concept

“Permanent employees” – refers to employees who have been given permanent appointment/employment.

2. Government service

The term “permanent employee” is usually used only in the Government service once employees are given their permanent appointment after having passed civil service eligibility. On the other hand, in the private sector, there is no such thing as a permanent employee nor a permanent employment contract.

a. Permanent appointment

Employees who have been qualified for Government Service after passing civil service eligibility are usually provided permanent appointment. Consequently, they are usually referred to as permanent employees.

The common belief is that permanent employees in the Government service are hired for life or that they remained employment until they retire, die, or become incapacitated. Thus, there are many who associate permanent employment as lifetime employment.

However, it should be noted that, despite being called permanent employees, they are still subject to the laws and regulations on civil service, particularly on the rules governing administrative cases. If they commit grave and serious infractions or violations, they may be subjected to disciplinary action, which includes dismissal from service as the highest form of penalty.

It is thus incorrect to think that permanent employees in the Government Service that they cannot be removed from the service.

3. Private sector

In the private sector, Philippine Labor Law does not recognize permanent employees nor permanent employment.

Currently, there are only six (6) kinds of employment contracts:

1) Regular employment contracts;

2) Probationary employment contracts;

3) Casual employment contracts;

4) Project employment contracts;

5) Seasonal employment contracts; and

6) Fixed-term employment contracts.

Of the above employment contracts, regular employees are often mistakenly believed to be permanent employees due to the fact that regular employment contracts do not have expiration in their employment period unlike the rest.

For example, a probationary employment contract lasts only during the probationary period of up to 180 calendar days, unless the probationary employee qualifies for regular employment. Similarly, causal employment contracts lasts only until the casual employment period of up to 12 calendar months, project employment contracts up to the end of a project, seasonal employment contracts up to the end of a business season, and fixed-term employment contracts up to the end of the stipulated period.

Since regular employment contracts do not have such expiration in their employment, they are often believed to be permanent employees. However, Philippine Labor Law does not recognize permanent employees nor permanent employment contracts in the private sector.

a. Regular employees are not permanent employees

“Regular employees” – refer to those who perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer. That is the definition provided for in the Labor Code. Nothing in the definition provides nor suggests that regular employees are hired for life or that they cannot be dismissed from employment nor separated from the service.

If we go by the definition that permanent employees cannot be removed from employment – regardless of violations and business/economic circumstances, then regular employees are not permanent employees.

Under the principle on security of tenure, no employee may be dismissed without due process. This includes regular employees. Meaning, so long as due process is observed, employees may be dismissed from service – including regular employees.

For instance, regular employees may be dismissed from employment if they committed grave violations amounting to just causes, such as serious misconduct, willful disobedience of a lawful order of an employer, gross and habitual neglect of duty, fraud, willful breach of trust, commission of crime against the employer or his/her immediate family and/or representative, and analogous causes.

On the other hand, regular employees may be separated from employment if there are business/economic reasons amounting to authorized causes, such as installation of labor-saving devices, redundancy, retrenchment, closure or cessation of a business or part of its operations, and disease.

So long as due process is observed in just causes and authorized causes, regular employees may be dismissed or separated from employment. Accordingly, following the definition of a permanent employee as those who cannot be dismissed from employment, regular employees are thus not permanent employees.


Book VI, Presidential Decree No. 442, a.k.a. Labor Code of the Philippines

Book VI, Omnibus Rules Implementing the Labor Code

/Updated: December 27, 2022

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