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In brief

Recent developments

On 23 October 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued Department Order No. 215, Series of 2020, which amends the rule on suspension of employment relationship.

Implications for business and transactions in the Philippines

Employers are given the opportunity to suspend the employment of employees for up to one year instead of having to dismiss the employees after a six-month suspension of operations.

What the new rules say

An employment relationship shall be deemed suspended in case of, among others, suspension of operations of the business or undertaking of the employer for a period not exceeding six months. In case of declaration of war, pandemic and similar national emergencies, the employer and its employees may meet in good faith for the purpose of extending the suspension of such employment relationship for a period not exceeding six months. In such case, the employer should report the extension of suspension of employment to the DOLE at least 10 days prior to the effectivity thereof.

In case the employees find alternative employment during the extended suspension of employment, they shall not lose employment unless they voluntarily resign through the submission of a written, unequivocal resignation letter.

In case retrenchment is necessary before or after the expiration of the extension of suspension of employment, the affected employees shall be entitled to separation pay, and shall have priority in re-hiring if they indicate their desire to resume their work not later than one month from the resumption
of operations.

The extension of suspension of employment shall not affect the right of the employees to separation pay, and the first six months of suspension of employment shall be included in the computation of the employees’ separation pay.


Eliseo Zuñiga, Jr. is the head of Quisumbing Torres' Dispute Resolution Practice Group and a member of the Employment Practice Group. He is also a member of the Industrial, Manufacturing & Telecommunications and the Healthcare & Life Sciences Industry Groups. He has over 20 years of experience advising clients on general employment issues, employee termination, executive compensation, benefits transfers and terminations, and general litigation. He actively participates as a speaker and presenter in various regional and local seminars and conferences on labor and employment-related issues. He served as a Chairperson of the People Management Association of the Philippines’ Labor Policy Reforms and Industrial Relations Committee and is currently the Co-Chairperson of the European Chamber of Commerce Human Capital Committee. He has been consistently cited as a Leading Individual for Employment by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific (2019-2023), Band 3 for Labor and Employment by the Chambers Asia Pacific (2018-2023), Litigation Star for Labor and Employment by Benchmark Litigation (2019 to 2023) and Notable Practitioner for Labor and Employment by asialaw Leading Lawyers (2020 to 2022). Eliseo is also recognized as a thought leader in the 2021 Q3 Lexology Legal Influencers for the Future of legal services - Asia-Pacific.


Marianne Ko-Tibayan is an associate in Quisumbing Torres’ Employment Practice Group and Consumer Goods & Retail Industry Group.