Who Is A Regular Employee?

iStock_000020067800XSmall2-emp-evalIn a very simple language, an employee is any person in the employ of another, who works for another whether it is for a specific job or not, and receives wages, salary or remuneration.

There are different kinds of employees and one of which is a regular employee. The term “regular” means usual, normal or habitual. Logically, a regular employee is someone who does his work in a usual manner. This description is somewhat similar to the labor law definition yet giving more emphasis to whether the nature of the job of an employee is reasonably connected or has something to do with the business of the employer.

Regular Employee Defined

The Labor Code of the Philippines defines a regular employee by specifying its two (2) kinds, namely:

  1. those who are engaged to perform activities which are usually necessary or desirable in the usual business or trade of the employer; and
  2. those casual employees who have rendered at least one year of service, whether continuous or broken, with respect to the activity in which they are employed.


Let us say that Mario is hired as a factory worker in a shoe maker company. As soon as he was hired in January 2009, he started working as a shoe maker. His work lasts for three months before he got terminated due to less volume of work. Will he be considered a regular employee under the first kind of a regular employee?

The answer is yes. Mario just worked for three months but then he will be deemed to be a regular employee because of the nature of his work making it usually necessary in the usual business of the employer. He is a shoe maker in a company that produces and supplies shoe wear in the market. The length of time for which he has worked is disregarded considering that it is not essential to the first kind of regular employees.

In the same example, let us assume that Mario, after 2 months with no work, was again called for work, but this time, to do carpentry jobs for the same company which lasted from July to November, and another work from January to June and August to December. To add up the period of his work, Mario has worked for 13 months before he got out of work. Is he a regular employee?

Under the second kind of regular employees, he has worked as a carpenter for the same company for the duration of at least (1) year although not continuous. The law only requires employment for at least a year, whether continuous or not continuous, to be considered a regular employee. Further, the law deems repeated and continuing need for its performance as sufficient evidence of the necessity if not indispensability of that activity to the business.  In this case, the period of time worked is necessary in order to know whether an employee will be deemed a regular employee or not.

Based on the discussion above, one can attain a regular employment status either from the nature of his work or the duration of his employment. In either case, an employee can only be terminated for just or authorized cause and after compliance with procedural due process. Otherwise, the employer may be held legally responsible.

Who is a Casual Employee

729casual-620x349Casual employee is one who is hired on occasional or temporary basis on an as-needed basis or to meet the employer’s staffing needs during periods of unusual circumstances, like when the business is at its peak or when the company has to meet the chain of supply and demand. Casual employees perform jobs not directly related or desirable to the business of the employer. Otherwise, the law will deem these employees regular employees.

Legal Definition

The labor laws of the Philippines do not explicitly state a definition of a casual employee. However, according to the authorities, a casual employee is an employee who is engaged to perform an activity not usually necessary or desirable to the course of business of the employer or merely incidental to the business and is hired under the terms of casual employment and for a definite period only. As a casual employee, they are devoid of security of tenure.

When can a casual employee become a regular employee

For example, a mechanic who is hired from time to time to fix the machinery in a manufacturing company is a casual employee. A painter in a realty company who was hired to repaint the company building is a casual employee. Mechanical jobs are not directly related to the usual course of business of a realty company. Work of a painter is not usually necessary to the business of a realty company. Nevertheless, if these casual employees have rendered their services for at least a year, whether continuous or intermittent, may ask for a right of regular employment with respect to the work or activity for which these employees were employed. If regularized, they cannot be terminated without valid cause.

Legal Limitation

As a casual employee, they are devoid of security of tenure, thus, can be terminated even when the work has not yet been finished and even without a cause.  They do not enjoy benefits provided by law to those regular employees. Usually, they work fewer hours than regular employees. Corollary, they receive lesser wages or salary. In addition, benefits guaranteed by law to regular employees are absent when one is a casual employee like leave credits, holiday pay, health care, etc.

Necessity of a Lawyer

In determining what kind of employee you are, always base your analysis on the definition of a regular employee under Article 280 of the Labor Code of the Philippines. If you think your circumstance as an employee is inconsistent with the legal description of a regular employee, then you may be either a casual, project or contractual employee. Each is distinct from the other. Sometimes, you may get confused which of the kind of employment you belong. In such a case, the understanding of a lawyer may help especially if you want to claim benefits you think would be right for you.