Background Checks/Employee Screening In The Philippines

Any company expanding to a foreign nation must hire employees to run the business. Whether you employ remote employees or in-office staff for your company headquarters in the Philippines, you must conduct thorough background checks for all potential candidates. 

The Philippines has a vast reserve of young and skilled talent. However, without a proper background check plan, you might make wrong hiring decisions, which could cost you money and your reputation in the future. Thus, conducting an employment background check in the Philippines allows you to screen candidates effectively, learn about their history, and make informed hiring decisions. 

Below we discuss the benefits and legalities of conducting background checks in the Philippines.

What is Employment Background Check Verification?

An employee background check reviews a potential candidate's personal, educational, financial, and criminal records to ensure they deem fit for the position. It is conducted to cross-verify the details provided by the applicant on their resume. 

A thorough employee screening helps employers understand whether the candidate is reliable and trustworthy. It is the first step to avoiding the risks of bad hires. Hiring the wrong candidate can impact the company’s outlook and cause significant financial loss. 

Some companies do the verification during the hiring process, while others conduct it throughout one’s employment life cycle.

Benefits of Background Checks in The Philippines

Conducting an employee background screening in the Philippines is essential because the major industries in the country include: 

  • ~IT
  • ~Transportation
  • ~Banking and financial services
  • ~Healthcare
  • ~Energy
  • ~Manufacturing 

Employee background checks are necessary given these industries' vulnerability and safety concerns. It offers the following benefits:

Ensures safety: A candidate with a record of criminal or anti-social activities threatens the security and integrity of the company. They also pose a risk to the clients. A background check on criminal records weeds out such candidates. Hiring loyal and credible candidates is crucial for sectors involving data exchanges. 

Improves hiring quality: A routine background check will ensure only qualified candidates who fit the job description are on the team. When every department has a qualified staff, it helps the company grow and develop across all parallels. 

Maximizes productivity: Qualified candidates who are dedicated with a professional attitude are more likely to remain productive in the workplace. 

Saves resources: The recruitment process involves a lot of time, effort, and money. A detailed background check can help eliminate candidates with discrepancies at the initial hiring stages, saving both time and money.  

Are Background Checks Legal in The Philippines?

Before proceeding with the employee screening process, it is necessary to understand the Philippines background check law. 

There are no laws under the Philippine Labor Code prohibiting conducting a background check on your applicants. But the country has a Data Privacy Act that puts specific limitations on pre-employment background checks in the Philippines. 

Here's what you must keep in mind: 

Sign a consent form: You must get consent from the prospective employee before collecting their personal information. The consent form must include the following information:

  • ~What data will be collected and by whom
  • ~The purpose of the information collected
  • ~For how long will it be stored
  • ~The methods used to collect the data

Employees must have access to the information regarding their rights as data subjects. They have a right to object to the data processing and lodge a complaint with the National Privacy Commission.

Be careful about sensitive information: There are penalties for unlawful data processing of sensitive personal information. Here's what classifies as sensitive personal information:

  • ~An individual's race, ethnicity, marital status, color, and religious or political affiliations. 
  • ~Information related to an individual's health, education, sexual life, or proceedings for any offense committed. 
  • ~An individual's social security numbers, health records, other licenses issued by the government agencies, and tax returns also fall under sensitive information.

Cross-border data transfers: An employee's consent is required for sharing their data across countries with an affiliate or parent company.

Things to Know When Performing a Background Check in The Philippines

Performing a background check in the Philippines requires strategic planning. Many employees may produce fake documents to secure a job. Hence, recruiters must be vigilant while checking their authenticity. 

Employee screening in the Philippines should include the following:

Personal information

Verifying your employee's identity, residential address, and contact details are the basics of beginning a background check. 

Educational qualifications

Cross-check the candidates’ academic records on the school or university database. Verify the transcripts of their degree or diploma certificates with the educational institutions. 

Employment records

It is essential to verify an employee's work experience, to get an idea about their work ethic and professional behavior. You can contact the HR department of the previous company and check for any inconsistencies about their job position, salaries, date of employment, the reason for leaving, etc. If a candidate offers additional references, you can also get an idea about their past performances. 

Criminal record

The National Bureau of Investigation can help conduct a criminal background check in the Philippines. It provides information regarding any criminal cases tried in a Municipal, Metropolitan, or Regional Trial Court. These records are publicly available, and you can seek the help of the authorities to check if there are any criminal cases against a person. Candidates with no criminal records will receive an NBI Clearance Form. 

Financial records or credit history

Financial records and credit history are crucial, especially when hiring for banking and finance sectors. A credit history reveals the debts or any infringement by the employee. Financial records indicate how they manage their money and if you can trust them with the company's transactions. 

History of drug abuse

Any evidence of drug or substance abuse is an immediate red flag when hiring employees. 

Social media

Employee screening in the Philippines can include social media checks. However, there are certain restrictions on it. It is unethical to snoop on a person's profile if they have a private account. Furthermore, if the profile is public, the HR department can check the profile to find relevant information to get an idea of the person's overall character. 
Social media checks vary for the kind of industry you operate. It depends if the candidate's views or opinions on social media will affect the company in the long run.

Information Essential for a Background Check in The Philippines

An employer must list things or documents they need to gather for employee background screening in the Philippines. The Philippines Labor Code has some specifications regarding background checks on sensitive information. Employees have the right to data privacy, so you must comply with the local laws. 

Employers can ask for the following documents for conducting an employee screening in the Philippines: 

  • ~Their full name as stated on official documents
  • ~Permanent or temporary residential addresses
  • ~Date of birth
  • ~Educational degrees, mark sheets, transcripts of records, and leaving certificates  
  • ~Recent photograph
  • ~Government-issued IDs such as Tax ID or Social Security Number
  • ~Previous employer's name and contact information 
  • ~Work experience certificates and letters of recommendation 
  • ~NBI Clearance form 
  • ~Financial documents such as debts, credit score, or outstanding payments (if any).

Process Involved in Background Checks in The Philippines

Companies must follow a uniform approach to employee screening. General steps involved in an HR background check in the Philippines include: 

Sign a consent form: Employers cannot proceed with gathering information without having the employee's consent. Therefore, employees must sign a consent form that states how employers will use their data. 

Run a check on all employees: The pre-employment background check in the Philippines should be consistent for all employees, irrespective of their job roles. This ensures a fair practice and prevents discrimination while hiring.

Know what to look for: The Philippines background check law restricts unlawful processing of sensitive information. So double-check the aspects you should evaluate and what you should avoid.

Gather information to verify: Start with cross-checking the candidate’s work history by contacting previous employers/references provided. Furthermore, get in touch with relevant educational institutions to check academic records. If possible, try to get their credit history from authorized credit reporting agencies. The National Bureau of Investigation can help with checking criminal records. 

Give feedback: If you find any discrepancies in the background check, communicate them to the candidate. Leave room for explanation, as misunderstandings may occur while collecting and evaluating data. 

Industries and Situations That Are Most Suitable for Background Checks in The Philippines

The Philippines background check law does not prohibit conducting employee screening but it does protect the privacy of the candidates. Corporations must practice background checks in the Philippines before hiring international employees, at least in the following sectors: 

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO): BPO is a fast-paced industry dealing with confidential client information and sensitive data. So, HR staff must choose reliable candidates who can be trusted with company data. 

Finance: Be it banking or applying within finance departments of any company requires someone trustworthy with assets. A wrong hire can incur significant losses in the finance sector. 

Shipping: The shipping industry forms a vital component of the Philippines' economy as it facilitates international trade and commerce. The logistics department in shipping companies has to be trusted with managing goods and transporting valuable cargo. 

Education: Academic institutions cannot afford to hire people with fraudulent educational qualifications. Instructors and teaching staff must be well-qualified and professional since they shape the future of every nation. Background checks can help eliminate the risks of employing unqualified individuals. 

How Multiplier Helps With Background Checks?

Hiring in a foreign country is challenging as the recruitment process involves multiple steps. When you add background checks and employee screening, the matter gets further complicated. 

This is why partnering with a global EOR firm like Multiplier eliminates any hassles related to onboarding and managing remote talent. We can help you draft employee benefits while ensuring total compliance with the local laws when hiring international employees. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take for employee background verification in the Philippines?

The process of employee background verification in the Philippines depends on what kind of information you seek. It can take much longer if you rely on different agencies for financial credits or manually decide to go through the criminal record files. 

Is employee consent mandatory in background verification in the Philippines?

There are no laws that make employee consent mandatory. However, you must secure the candidate’s approval if you intend to gather their sensitive personal information. Consent is mandatory if there is a cross-border data transfer of employee information. It is generally a good practice for compliance to get employee consent before proceeding with background verification.

What should be included in a consent form for employee verification?

A consent form for the employee verification must include the company and employee names and the employee’s position. The form must highlight the kind of personal data gathered and how it will be processed. 

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