TYPES OF EMPLOYMENT
The Labor Code and jurisprudence classify employment status into regular, project, seasonal, casual, probationary and fixed-term.
The employment status of an employee is not determined by the specific designation given to it in the employment contract but by the nature of the work being performed by the employee.
An employment is presumed to be regular or permanent in nature, unless the legal requirements for the other types of employment are strictly observed. For instance, a probationary employee must be provided with written standards for regular employment no later than the start of his or her employment. Otherwise, he or she shall be deemed a regular employee from the start of his or her employment.
The classification of an employee is important because under Philippine law, the causes for terminating an employer-employee relationship will depend upon the classification of the employee.
REGULAR AND PROBATIONARY EMPLOYMENT
If an individual is engaged to perform activities that are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer, he or she should be employed as a regular employee (i.e., an employee with an indefinite term) unless the employment relationship can qualify as an alternative employment arrangement.
In this connection, before an employee becomes a regular employee, his or her employer can require him or her to undergo probationary period. The maximum length of the probationary period is six months, counted from the date the new employee started working. The employer normally may not extend the probationary period. Once the new employee is allowed to work after the lapse of the probationary period, his or her employment will be deemed a regular employment by operation of law. Also, at or before the beginning of the probationary period, the employer must notify the employee of the standards that he or she must satisfy. Otherwise, the employment will also be deemed a regular employment from the time the employee started working.
PROJECT AND SEASONAL EMPLOYMENT
There is project employment when the period of employment has been fixed for a specific undertaking, the completion of which has been determined at the time of the engagement of the employee. A project employee may acquire the status of a regular employee when he or she is continuously rehired after the cessation of a project and the tasks he or she performs are vital, necessary and indispensable to the usual business or trade of his or her employer.
In contrast, there is seasonal employment when the work is to be performed only at a certain time of the year and the employment is for the duration of that time of the year.
There is casual employment when an employee is engaged to perform work that is merely incidental to the business of the employer, and such work is for a definite period made known to the employee at the time of his or her engagement. If the casual employee renders at least one year of service, whether such service is continuous or not, he or she shall be considered a regular employee with respect to the activity for which he or she is employed and his or her employment shall continue while such activity exists.
There is fixed-period employment when the commencement and termination dates of the employment relationship have been set before the employment relationship begins. Fixed-period employment is highly restricted and is subject to the following criteria: (i) the fixed period of employment was knowingly and voluntarily agreed upon by the parties without any force, duress, or improper pressure being brought to bear upon the employee and absent any other circumstances vitiating his or her consent; or (ii) it satisfactorily appears that the employer and the employee dealt with each other on more or less equal terms with no dominance exercised by the former over the latter. As much as possible, fixed-period employment should involve highly educated people or highly technical positions.