The easy guide to employee background checks in the Philippines
May 4, 2023
In the Philippines, background checks can be a crucial step in the hiring process. Not only do they verify your new hire’s credentials, but they can also help eliminate the risks of bringing on a potential threat to your company.
But for global companies hiring employees in the Philippines, handling a background check can seem intimidating as it requires knowledge of the rules and regulations in the Philippines—as well as the responsibility of properly managing and securing confidential information about your employees.
Need a resource to help you run extensive but legally compliant employee background checks in the Philippines? You're in the right spot—read on to learn more.
Table of Contents
- Are you legally required to run background checks on Filipino employees?
- Is it legal to run background checks on Filipino contractors?
- What types of background checks do businesses commonly run on Filipino employees and contractors?
- What types of background checks are illegal in the Philippines?
- When should you conduct Filipino employee background checks?
- The easiest way to run a background check on a Filipino employee or contractor
- Background check mistakes to avoid in the Philippines
- Frequently asked questions about background checks in the Philippines
Are you legally required to run background checks on Filipino employees?
In the Philippines, background checks are only mandatory for certain jobs:
- Filipino employees usually need to be screened to work with children, the elderly, or other vulnerable people.
- Jobs that pose safety risks, such as driving large vehicles, working with explosives or hazardous substances, or working in construction, also require background checks.
While not always mandatory, many of the country’s other biggest industries—including IT, manufacturing, banking, shipping, and Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)—pose safety and privacy concerns if Filipino employees aren’t properly vetted.
Employers are allowed to request information about job applicants that is relevant to the position, including criminal record checks, education verification, and employment history.
It’s essential for employers to obtain informed consent from job applicants before collecting any personal information, per the Philippines’ Data Privacy Act. It’s the employer’s responsibility to protect the applicant’s personal information and maintain confidentiality, and use the information gathered only for legitimate purposes.
Is it legal to run background checks on Filipino contractors?
Assuming that the contractor has given their approval, yes—it’s legal to run background checks on contractors in the Philippines.
What types of background checks do businesses commonly run on Filipino employees and contractors?
In the Philippines, you can conduct different types of background screening, based on a new hire's role. Here are the most common background checks you can consider:
- Criminal record. Criminal background checks are conducted through the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which houses a public database of cases tried in Philippine courts. If a criminal background check comes back clean, an employee will get an NBI Clearance Form.
- Identity. With their consent, you can verify a new hire’s personal information like name, residential address, and date of birth.
- Employment verification. You can contact the HR or payroll departments of a new hire's previous employers to verify their dates of employment, salary, and reason for leaving.
- Reference check. You can contact any references provided by a new hire.
- Work authorization. You can ask for proof that a new hire is legally allowed to work in the Philippines. This may be proof of citizenship or a work visa.
- Education history. Employers can contact primary schools, universities, and other educational institutions to request graduation dates, information on the course of study, degree or diploma obtained, and grades.
- Credit reports and financial records. Credit history checks are common for employees in the banking industry, as a good credit score signals someone can make responsible financial transactions.
- Social media profiles. Employers can look through any public social media information a new hire has posted.
- Driving records. If a job requires driving, employers can access driving records through a driver's license office to check that the applicant's license is valid and there are no claims against it.
What types of background checks are illegal in the Philippines?
The Philippines’ Data Privacy Act sets guardrails against the processing of a potential employee’s sensitive personal information. Unless you have someone’s consent and provide them with specific explanations for how the information will be collected and used, you shouldn’t ask for any data involving:
- Demographics such as race, ethnicity, marital status, and religious or political affiliations.
- Private information such as social security numbers, health records, and tax returns.
- Details about a person’s health, education, sex life, and criminal history.
When should you conduct Filipino employee background checks?
Filipino employee background checks should be conducted as part of the pre-employment screening process, typically after a conditional offer of employment has been made to a job applicant.
Employers should also provide written notice to the job applicant that a background check will be conducted and obtain their written consent.
The easiest way to run a background check on a Filipino employee or contractor
There are several different companies that can run employment background checks on employees in the Philippines. Screening services include Rippling, Veremark, and HireRight. Rippling provides the smoothest process because background checks are directly integrated into the onboarding flow.
Just enter basic hiring info like salary and start date, and Rippling will send the offer letter and new hire paperwork—and automatically run a legally compliant background check and e-verify the results. See Rippling today.
Background check mistakes to avoid in the Philippines
- Not explaining how sensitive personal data will be collected. It’s important for employers to note the Philippines' privacy laws and how they emphasize careful data collection when it comes to sensitive information. You need to be transparent on how the data you’ll be gathering from an employment screening will be processed. Companies must be upfront with candidates about what data they are using to run their background checks, who their personal information is being shared with, and why.
- Not getting employee consent for sensitive data. The Philippines' privacy laws also require employers to obtain consent from applicants before collecting private or personal information. Filipino employees have a right to object to their sensitive data being processed and can file a complaint with the National Privacy Commission if they feel their rights have been violated.
- Skipping the background check. A successful employee screening process guarantees you hire an honest candidate most suitable for your role.
While the process can seem complicated, Rippling makes it easy to run background checks in the Philippines.
Frequently asked questions about background checks in the Philippines
Are background checks legal in the Philippines?
Yes, background checks are legal provided they are conducted in compliance with privacy laws under the Philippine Labor Code.
Employers are allowed to request information from job applicants that is relevant to the job position, including criminal record checks, education verification, and employment history checks. But employers must also obtain informed consent from job applicants before conducting background checks that reveal personal information. A signed consent form needs to have information about:
- Who is collecting the data
- What data is being collected
- When it will be stored until
- Why it is being collected
- How the data is being collected
How do privacy laws affect pre-employment background checks in the Philippines?
Philippine privacy laws are very strict and have a significant impact on background checks, and must be followed by global organizations hiring employees in the Philippines. The Data Privacy Act limits the scope of background checks in the Philippines by mandating employers get someone’s written consent before accessing or processing any sensitive personal information.
Do different industries in the Philippines require different background checks?
Different types of background checks are allowed for different industries. Employers should focus on conducting background checks that are necessary to the new hire's role—for example, you should only conduct a driver's license check if the role requires commercial driving. You should also conduct pre-employment screenings for any roles that involve working with children or other vulnerable people.
What are the benefits of running background checks in the Philippines?
Background checks come with many benefits for employers, including:
- Enhanced security. Background checks can help filter out job applicants who would pose a threat to the company or its employees.
- Protection against negligent hiring. Companies can be held responsible for hiring employees who later engage in public misconduct. Background checks reveal past misconduct, helping mitigate this risk.
- Better hiring decisions. Background checks help filter out candidates with discrepancies or inconsistencies in their work or educational backgrounds. They verify that applicants are who they say they are, and that their stated qualifications are accurate.
- Protection from occupational fraud. Background checks protect your company's reputation by helping avoid dishonest and fraudulent job seekers.
Onboard new hires and run background checks with Rippling
With Rippling's Talent Management System, you can seamlessly onboard new hires and set them up for success. Just enter basic hiring info like salary and start date, and Rippling does the rest—including running a legally compliant background check and e-verifying the results.
Ready to hit the ground running with every new hire? See Rippling today.
Rippling and its affiliates do not provide tax, accounting or legal advice. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal, and accounting advisors before engaging in any related activities or transactions.