Decent Work in the Philippines: Statistics on Combining Work, Family and Personal Life (Fifth of a series)

Reference Number: 


Release Date: 

Friday, June 30, 2017
The International Labor Organization (ILO) in its advocacy to promote the Decent Work Agenda describes decent work as “integral to efforts to reduce poverty and is a key mechanism for achieving equitable, inclusive and sustainable development.  Decent work involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, provides security in the workplace and social protection for workers and their families, and gives people the freedom to express their concerns, to organize and to participate in decisions that affect their lives”. (ILO, Country Profile, 2012, Preface)
During the UN General Assembly in September 2015, decent work and the four pillars of the Decent Work Agenda became integral elements of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Specifically, Goal 8 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) calls for the promotion of sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. (ILO, Decent Work – Decent Work and the SDG)
In September 2008, the ILO adopted a framework of Decent Work Indicators that was presented to the 18th International Conference of Labor Statisticians in December 2008. The Governing Body endorsed the proposal to test the framework by developing Decent Work Country Profiles to pilot countries that include the Philippines which was later made possible through the project “Monitoring and Assessing Progress on Decent Work” (MAP) in 2012, with funding from the European Union. 
The statistical measurement framework on decent work covers ten (10) substantive elements corresponding to the four (4) strategic pillars of the Decent Work Agenda, namely: employment opportunities; adequate earnings and productive work; decent hours; combining work, family and personal life; work that should be abolished; stability and security of work; equal opportunity and treatment in employment; safe work environment; social security; and, social dialogue, workers’ and employers’ representation. These elements of decent work were analyzed in the economic and social context to help determine what constitute decency in society as well as the extent to which the achievement of decent work enhances national economic, social and labor market performance. (ILO, Country Profile, 2012)
To facilitate efficient monitoring and assessment of progress towards decent work in the country, the Philippines through the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) maintains the Decent Work Statistics Philippines (DeWS-Philippines), a one-stop web-based portal for decent work statistics to widen awareness on decent work among policymakers, labor organizations and employers, researchers and the general public as well.   
This issue of LABSTAT Updates presents statistics on one of the elements of decent work which is Combining Work, Family and Personal Life specifically focusing on the three (3) indicators used to measure decent work in the Philippines from 1995 to 2015.  The Labor Force Survey (LFS) of the (PSA) is the major source of data used in this report.  Related tables and metadata can be downloaded at the DeWS–Philippines website at
Combining Work, Family and Personal Life
  • One of the requisites of decent work is that a worker can be able to balance his work, family and personal life as these are important aspects of an individual’s life.
  • However, combining work, family and personal life requires a lot of effort as workers are “faced with competing demands and tradeoffs” between attending to family responsibilities and work.  According to the ILO’s R165 – Workers with Family Responsibilities Recommendation 1981 (No. 165) “many of the problems facing all workers are aggravated in the case of workers with family responsibilities” and that there is “a need to improve their conditions both by measures responding to their special needs and by measures designed to improve the conditions of workers in general.”
  • Further, as Dr. Bila Sorj has stated in the Conditions of Work and Employment Series No. 8 - Reconciling Work and Family: Issues and Policies in Brazil,  reconciling work and family “raises two questions: on the one hand, how working conditions can be adapted to help workers fulfill their family responsibilities; and on the other hand, how can family responsibilities of men and women be made more compatible with employment so that these responsibilities are not the source of discrimination in the labour market.”
  • In the Philippines, aside from the leave benefits mandated by law (maternity leave, paternity leave and parental leave for solo parents) that  addresses the issue, there are establishments that implement programs to ensure that their workers may enjoy a balanced work life, as shown by the results of the 2010/2011 Bureau of Labor and Employment Statistics Integrated Survey (BITS).
  • Some of these programs were cited in the International Labor Office, Decent Work Country Profile: The Philippines which include the implementation of flexible work schedule; compressed workweek; work and family programs; conduct of seminars on balancing work; as well as allowing children to be brought to the workplace where childcare facilities are available, among others.  It was also mentioned that statutory leave arrangements are being allowed such as: use of leave benefits to attend to urgent family concerns; extended maternity leaves; extended paternity leaves; flexible holiday schedule; and time-off in lieu of extra hours worked; career break; and study leave.
  • Recently, Senate Bill 1305 or the “Expanded Maternity Leave Law” was passed by the Senate which will grant 120 days of maternity leave to expectant mothers among other provisions. The bill, if enacted into a law, will provide more time for working mothers to take care of their newborn, especially if they are breastfeeding, as well as attend to other chores/ activities having a new addition to the family may entail.     
  • There are three statistical proxy indicators used to measure combining work, family and personal life, as the indicators identified by the ILO for this area are not available in the Philippines.  These are (1) economically inactive due to household/family duties; (2) employed who are married; and (3) employed who are household heads.


Read the full article here.

See more at the LabStat Updates landing page.