Global Hiring Guide

Employee Background Checks in the Philippines: All You Need to Know

Mayank Bhutoria

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Key Takeaways

When hiring remote employees in the Philippines, conducting thorough background checks is not just a best practice, it's a necessity. The background check plays a vital role in verifying credentials and ensuring the safety and security of your company.

While the fundamental principles of background checks remain consistent across borders, tailoring them to Philippine standards demands attention to detail. 

For instance, global companies extending their operations into the Philippines must grasp local regulations and the responsible management of sensitive employee information. 

Need a resource to help you run extensive but legally compliant employee background checks in the Philippines? You're in the right spot. Follow along as we delve into the essential aspects of background checks in the Philippine context, empowering you to confidently make informed hiring decisions.

What is an Employment Background Check/Verification?

Employment background check verification involves scrutinising a prospective employee's personal, educational, financial, and criminal histories to ascertain their suitability for a position. Its primary purpose is to validate the information provided by the applicant on their resume.

Conducting a comprehensive employee screening aids employers in assessing the reliability and trustworthiness of candidates. It serves as a crucial initial step in mitigating the risks associated with hiring unsuitable individuals. Making wrong hiring decisions can adversely affect a company's reputation and lead to substantial financial repercussions.


Are you Legally Allowed to Run Background Checks on Filipino Employees?

The Philippine Labor Code doesn't impose restrictions on companies and recruiters regarding background checks on applicants. Employers can request relevant information from job applicants for the position, including criminal record checks, educational verification, and employment history. However, some industries and roles require background checks, especially of the roles are: 

  • Roles involving vulnerable populations like children, the elderly, or other vulnerable individuals
  • Positions with safety risks, such as driving heavy vehicles, handling explosives, hazardous materials, or working in construction

While not always obligatory, several major industries in the country, including IT, manufacturing, banking, shipping, and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), may raise safety and privacy concerns if employees aren't properly vetted.

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Does a Company Necessarily Need to Perform a Background Check on its Potential Employees?

In the Philippines, there are many reasons for conducting background checks. With background verification, you get to spot any cases of people with the following issues:

  • criminal records
  • history of drug use
  • history of violence or abuse
  • been convicted of theft, fraud, or other crimes

What are the benefits of background checks in the Philippines

Employee background checks are particularly crucial for industries with vulnerability and safety concerns, offering the following benefits:

  • Enhanced safety: Screening for criminal records helps eliminate candidates who may pose a threat to the company's security and integrity, as well as to clients.
  • Improved hiring quality: Background checks ensure that only qualified candidates who fit the job description are hired, contributing to overall company growth and development.
  • Increased productivity: Hiring qualified, dedicated and professional candidates enhances workplace productivity.
  • Cost Savings: Conducting detailed background checks early in the hiring process eliminates candidates with discrepancies, saving time, effort, and money.

When is the ideal time to perform background checks on Filipino employees?

The timing of background checks varies depending on the organization and employer. Some conduct verification during the pre-employment hiring process, while others perform it throughout the employee's tenure.


Points to Keep in Mind When Performing a Background Check in The Philippines

Before initiating the employee screening process, it's crucial to grasp the nuances of Philippine background check legislation.

While the Philippine Labor Code doesn't explicitly prohibit background checks on applicants, the country's Data Privacy Act imposes certain restrictions on pre-employment background checks in the Philippines.

Here are four important things you need to remember:

  1. Consent Form Requirement: Before collecting personal information, every employee must sign a consent form. This form should outline the following:
  • What data will be gathered and by whom
  • The purpose of the information collected
  • Duration of storage
  • Methods used for data collection
  1. Employee Access to Information: Employees have the right to access information regarding their rights as data subjects. They can object to data processing and file complaints with the National Privacy Commission.
  2. Handling Sensitive Information: Be cautious when handling sensitive personal information to avoid penalties for unlawful data processing. This includes:
  • Details about an individual's race, ethnicity, marital status, color, religious or political affiliations
  • Information related to health, education, sexual life, or criminal proceedings
  • Social security numbers, health records, government-issued licenses, and tax returns
  1. Cross-Border Data Transfers: Consent from employees is necessary for sharing their data across borders with affiliate or parent companies.

The Easiest Way to Run a Background Check on a Filipino Employee or Contractor

The easiest way to run a background check on a Filipino employee or contractor is to engage a reputable third-party background screening company that specialises in conducting checks in the Philippines. These companies have the expertise, resources, and network to efficiently gather and verify the necessary information while ensuring compliance with local laws and regulations.

On the other hand, opting for an Employer of Record (EOR) in the Philippines is the best bet. Employers of Record often have access to resources and expertise to facilitate background checks efficiently and effectively. Background verification could be too much if you have a diverse and global workforce; however, EORs have partnerships with background screening companies or access to specialised software that streamlines the process.

Employers of Record can handle the entire background check process from start to finish, including obtaining consent from the individual, gathering necessary information, conducting background checks, and reviewing the results. They ensure compliance with local laws and regulations and maintain confidentiality throughout the process.

By leveraging the services of an Employer of Record for background checks, companies can save time and resources while ensuring thorough and compliant screening of their employees or contractors.

Background Check Mistakes to Avoid in the Philippines

Avoiding background check mistakes is crucial for legal compliance and maintaining trust with candidates. Here are some common background check mistakes to avoid in the Philippines:

  • Lack of Transparency: Failing to inform candidates about the specific information being collected, who it will be shared with, and the purpose of the background check can lead to distrust and potential legal issues. Ensure transparency throughout the process.
  • Failure to Obtain Consent: It's essential to obtain explicit consent from candidates before conducting background checks, especially for sensitive data. Failure to do so may violate privacy laws such as the Data Privacy Act of 2012 in the Philippines.
  • Using Unverified Sources: Relying on unverified or unreliable sources for background checks can lead to inaccurate information and potential discrimination claims. Verify information from credible sources to ensure accuracy and fairness.

Here’s how Gloroots can help you expand your team in the Philippines.

Interested in expanding your workforce in the Philippines? 

Gloroots offers a comprehensive employment and payroll platform, simplifying the process of hiring, managing, and compensating employees worldwide from a single interface. With Gloroots, you can effortlessly navigate compliance with employment laws and regulations in the Philippines, mitigating legal risks and potential fines.

Let us handle the complexities of hiring and payroll, allowing you to concentrate on scaling your teams in the Philippines and beyond.

Schedule a demo today to connect with our team.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of background checks are illegal in the Philippines?

In the Philippines, certain types of background checks that infringe upon an individual's privacy or violate laws are considered illegal. These may include:

  • Conducting background checks based on discriminatory factors such as race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or age is prohibited.
  • Accessing personal data without proper consent or authorization from the individual is illegal under the Data Privacy Act.
  • Conducting overly intrusive background checks that delve into an individual's private life beyond what is necessary for the job may constitute an invasion of privacy and could be illegal.

What are the types of background checks in the Philippines?

Common types of background checks conducted by employers may include:

  • Criminal background checks
  • Employment history verification
  • Educational background verification
  • Character reference checks
  • Professional license verification
  • Address Verification
  • Drug and alcohol screening

How long does it take for employee background verification in the Philippines?

In general, straightforward background verifications may take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks to complete. This timeline typically includes the time needed to gather relevant information, contact references or institutions, and verify the accuracy of the data provided by the candidate.

However, more complex background checks or those involving international components (such as verifying education or employment history from overseas) may take longer to process. Additionally, delays may occur due to factors such as incomplete or inaccurate information provided by the candidate, difficulty in contacting references or institutions, or administrative backlog.

Is employee consent mandatory in background verification in the Philippines?

Yes, employee consent is required for background verification in the Philippines. According to the Data Privacy Act of 2012 (Republic Act No. 10173), which governs the processing of personal information in the country, individuals have the right to be informed and to provide consent for collecting, processing, and sharing their personal data.

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