Employers who want to build globally distributed teams based in the Pearl of the Orient need to understand pre-employment background checks in the country. A background check in the Philippines may follow the same principles as in other countries around the world, but employers need to be aware of some nuances, regulatory requirements and local standards to maximize their global hiring strategy.
What is an employee background check?
A pre-employment background check verifies the information provided by an applicant prior to hiring and typically includes checking references, criminal records, and other relevant documents to ensure that the candidate is suitable for the open position.
For remote employees, in particular, a pre-employment background check adds a layer of security. This can help employers uncover any fraud or inaccurate representation of qualifications or experience made by the candidate during the hiring process.
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What are the benefits of background checks in the Philippines?
A background check in the Philippines protects employers from complications arising from hiring remote employees. Among its benefits:
- Screening out unsuitable candidates - Pre-employment background checks provide a thorough investigation of an applicant's past to ensure they meet the criteria for the job and can be trusted with sensitive information.
- Protecting your company’s reputation - Background checks help protect your business from potential legal issues by verifying that applicants have not been involved in any illegal activities or committed any crimes in their past, thus protecting your brand image and reputation amongst customers, investors, and partners.
- Meeting local requirements - In some countries like the Philippines, certain local standards regarding pre-employment screening must be met when hiring employees. Background checks will ensure you remain compliant with these standards and avoid penalties or fines due to noncompliance.
- Reducing financial risks - Withdrawal of visa applications on account of false documents submitted by a candidate can lead to huge financial losses incurred through payment processing fees and other related costs. Conducting pre-employment screenings helps mitigate this risk as it guarantees that all documentation provided is genuine and accurate.
What are the types of background checks in the Philippines?
In terms of pre-employment background checks, Philippines-specific practices usually include:
Criminal record check
A pre-employment criminal record check in the Philippines may involve obtaining a Barangay, police, or NBI Clearance. Barangay clearance is too low-level (Barangays are the smallest local government units in the country), so companies typically request police clearances or NBI clearances from candidates.
Police clearances can be secured from the Philippine National Police; you can schedule processing and verify clearances online.
An alternative is to obtain a certificate from the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI). The NBI relies on data from individual courts; complete or accurate information may not always be provided, especially if coming from remote areas where records are paper-based. Nationwide records searches are conducted through Regional and Municipal Trial Courts.
If you’re internationally relocating a current employee to the Philippines, they will need to undergo a check via the NBI as the NBI clearance is required for long-term stays.
Employment history check
Itis best practice in the Philippines is to verify at least the most recent or relevant prior employment details.
An employment verification report typically includes the name and contact information of the previous employer, applicant’s title, dates of employment held at that company or organization (including start/end date), whether they are eligible for rehire or not (if available) and other relevant details as requested. A signed release form is also required before any data can be disclosed about a job seeker’s history with a prior business partner or client.
In the Philippines, public employees need to undergo medical screening with a pre-approved set of tests. The private sector has followed suit and companies typically include medical screening either as a requirement for employment or a benefit such as a company-sponsored plan via a partner health management organization (HMO).
This process involves a comprehensive physical examination and assessment of a job applicant's medical history to determine their fitness for the position they are applying for. The results from this screening can help employers identify any potential health risks associated with the job, such as exposure to hazardous materials or strenuous physical labor. It also helps employers ensure that employees have adequate insurance coverage should any medical issues arise during employment.
Credit history check
This type of screening helps employers identify any potential financial risks when hiring an individual for certain positions or roles within their organization. A credit history check involves verifying an applicant’s past and current credit accounts, including loans and other types of debt obligations that they have taken on over time. The results provide employers with valuable insight into how responsibly someone manages their finances, which can be indicative of trustworthiness and reliability in many cases.
To ensure accuracy and prevent hiring unqualified candidates, employers should contact educational institutions directly to verify degrees or certifications earned. This includes verifying dates of attendance, graduation date, and degree information for the applicant's highest or two highest qualifications. Educational verifications also check if a degree is accredited versus from a diploma mill, by checking with registries, clearing houses, and issuing authorities.
Social media check
In the Philippines, employers may add social media checks as part of their pre-employment background check process. Social media can provide valuable information about a potential employee's character and behavior which may not be revealed through traditional methods. By running a social media check on potential employees, employers can gain insight into how they act online and learn more about their overall professional persona before making any hiring decisions. However, note that the Philippines' Data Privacy Act of 2012 states that employers can collect, process, and use personal data only for legitimate purposes. It is only legal to conduct the check if consent has been secured from the candidate beforehand.
Requirements for a background check in the Philippines
Philippines-specific employment screening requirements are generally straightforward:
- A valid government ID (such as a passport or driver’s license) must be presented by the applicant before any background check can begin.
- The employer must obtain written consent from an applicant before conducting any type of background check, including criminal records and credit history checks.
- Employers should also conduct drug tests on all potential employees prior to their hire date, if applicable.
- It is recommended that employers review educational credentials provided by applicants during pre-employment screening processes. Diplomas, transcripts, certifications, and licenses are indicators that an individual has obtained the proper education necessary for performing certain job roles successfully.
Applicants for police force training are required to be screened for criminal history. Similarly, some roles in certain industries like finance and security may warrant more extensive criminal checks than others.
Steps in conducting a background check in the Philippines
- Determine the type of background check you need: Depending on the position, you may want to conduct a criminal record search, credit history review, or reference checks.
- Obtain written consent from your candidate and inform them about their rights under Philippine law regarding pre-employment screening processes.
- Contact an accredited third-party provider that specializes in providing pre-employment background checks for employers in the Philippines. International hiring, management, and payroll service providers like Skuad also offer such services.
- Submit necessary documents and information to your service provider, including but not limited to copies of valid IDs/passports, signed authorization forms, job descriptions, and references with contact details.
- Expect to receive results within seven days in most cases. The Philippines NBI may take longer to provide the required clearance due to common name false positives, surname changes (marriage, etc), or other such concerns.
Are employee background checks legal in the Philippines?
The Philippine Labor Code does not restrict companies and recruiters from conducting background checks on applicants. In fact, these types of checks are generally legally permissible and may even be required by some employers before they hire someone. This is seen as a valid exercise of their management right.
Still, part of your corporate priorities should be making sure you’re not inadvertently risking noncompliance to related local labor and data privacy laws. It’s best to seek legal counsel for comprehensive advice.
Planning to hire in the Philippines? Here’s how Skuad can help
Looking to grow your team in the Philippines?Skuad’s platform is the all-in-one employment and payroll platform you need to hire, manage, and pay employees all over the world from one place.Skuad helps you easily comply with all employment laws and legislation in Spain, helping you reduce legal risks and fines.
We can also advise you on the legalities of things like background checks, as well as provide an optimal employee experience to your workers. Leave the complexities of hiring and payments to us so that you can focus on growing your teams in the Philippines and beyond.
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How is a background check done in the Philippines?
In the Philippines, employers can conduct pre-employment background checks that typically include checking references, criminal records, and other documents relevant to the job position. A medical screening may also be required, depending on the policies set by the potential employer. Employers must obtain written consent from applicants before conducting any kind of background check in the Philippines.
Are background checks legal in the Philippines?
Yes, background checks are legal and in some cases, required by potential employers.
What is the NBI background check?
The background check conducted by the Philippines National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) is a national-level criminal background check that gathers information on an individual from appropriate local police and judicial units.
How long does a background check take?
While a standard background check typically takes a week to complete, there can be some delays, particularly for NBI Bu criminal background checks due to administrative limitations and issues.
What is the NBI in the Philippines?
The National Bureau of Investigation is the primary national-level investigative agency that looks into offenses against Philippine law. They provide certification of a clear criminal record for any individual who requests and pays for it for employment or any other purpose