The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is the government agency that is mandated to formulate, implement, monitor, and assess labor policies and programs nationwide. It is primarily responsible for the regulation of fair, equitable labor practices, promotion of socio-economic welfare of workers, and the protection of workers’ rights here and abroad.
It also serves as the official policy-coordinating arm of the national government in the field of labor and employment.
The department is headed by the Secretary of Labor and Employment who is appointed by the President of the Philippines at the start of their term.
DOLE provides services to millions of workers nationwide and across the globe, and assistance to its stakeholders—labor and economic groups, workers’ unions and cooperatives, non-government organizations (NGOs), other government agencies, the academe, as well as the international community, through organizations such as the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and host countries of overseas Filipino workers (OFW).
The department was initially founded as the Bureau of Labor in 1908, until the adoption of Republic Act 4121 on December 8, 1933 when it was proclaimed a full department. Its mission upon establishment is “to promote gainful employment opportunities, develop human resources, protect workers and promote their welfare, and maintain industrial peace”, towards the attainment of full, decent, and productive employment for every Filipino, as stated in its vision.
Since then, it has persisted in upholding its thrust on labor, management, and government towards the establishment of a responsive agency that overcomes socio-political and economic challenges that emerge, while serving the best interest of the country’s labor force locally and internationally.
As of this writing, DOLE has 16 regional offices, 83 field offices with four (4) satellite offices, 38 overseas posts, 6 bureaus, and 11 attached agencies working together to supervise, implement and evaluate labor programs and policies.
List of Attached Agencies of DOLE
DOLE holds authority over its attached agencies in order to fulfill its duties:
1. Institute for Labor Studies (ILS)
The Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) is the policy research and advocacy arm of DOLE and aims to contribute to efficient and effective labor and employment policy and decision-making through relevant, responsive, and high-quality policy research and research support. It was formally established on July 25, 1987, by virtue of Executive Order No. 251 by then President Corazon Aquino in response to the growing need for more comprehensive and innovative research on labor policies and recommendations. Since then, the ILS has been instrumental in the promotion of labor market efficiency, industrial peace, and social justice over the past 35 years.
2. National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB)
The National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB) was created through Executive Order No. 126 that allowed further reorganization of DOLE, and is mandated to formulate policies, develop programs, and set standards and procedures in relevance to the promotion of conciliation and mediation of labor disputes through preventive mediation, conciliation, and voluntary arbitration. It also facilitates labor-management cooperation through joint mechanisms for information dissemination, effective communication, consultation, and group problem-solving.
3. National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC)
The National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) is a quasi-judicial body that is mandated to promote and uphold industrial peace by resolving labor and management disputes involving both local and overseas workers through compulsory arbitration and alternative modes of crisis management and dispute resolution. The commission dates back to as early as the Commonwealth Government, when the “Contract Labor Law” was passed in the United States in 1885, and was then adapted in the Philippines on June 6, 1899.
4. National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP)
The National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) was established on May 1, 1978, by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 1369 in hopes of meeting the need for a national maritime upgrading institution that will enhance and improve the competencies and qualifications of the graduates of maritime schools and training institutes for them to adapt flexibly with the emerging and continuing innovations of the industry, and supplement the capabilities of licensed deck and engine officers through job-oriented training programs towards boosting employment in the domestic and international level.
5. National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC)
The National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC) was established upon the enactment of the Republic Act No. 6727 in July 1989, which called for a new mechanism for determining minimum wage as well as policies and regulations therein. The NWPC works with Regional Tripartite Wage and Productivity Boards (RTWPBs) nationwide in setting minimum wages for the protection of workers and the promotion of healthy enterprise and worker productivity.
6. Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)
The Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) is a government agency that is primarily responsible for the administration of overseas employment programs in the country, while protecting the rights and welfare of overseas Filipino workers worldwide. The agency came into fruition upon the signing of Executive Order No. 797 in 1982. Its reformation in 1987 through Executive Order No. 247 allowed the refining of its scope of responsibilities in response to changing economic and political landscapes and to reinforce policies for the protection of Filipino migrant workers.
In December 30, 2021, President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Republic Act No. 11641 or the “Department of Migrant Workers Act” which paved way for the creation of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW), absorbing POEA, along with five other offices of DOLE and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
7. Professional Regulation Commission (PRC)
The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) was created on June 22, 1973, by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 223, and was mandated to enforce laws that regulate various professions under the aid of the Civil Service Commission. The PRC performs two primary functions: the administration of licensure examinations to aspiring professionals, and the regulation and supervision of practice of exercised professions in partnership with 43 Professional regulatory Boards (PRBs) in the fields of health, business, education, social sciences, engineering and technology. The PRBs are then tasked to govern their respective profession’s practice and ethical standards, as well as accredit professional organizations that represent professionals in their field.
On September 11, 2006, through Executive Order No. 565-A, the PRC became an attached arm of DOLE, and since then, serves more than 4 million professionals from 43 various regulated professions and hundreds of thousands of aspiring professionals who take the licensure examinations every year.
8. Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA)
The Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) was created upon the enactment of the Republic Act No. 7796 which aims to encourage the full participation and mobilization of the labor sector, local government units, and technical-vocational institutions in the skills development of the country’s human resources. TESDA formulates manpower and skills plans, sets appropriate standards and assessment tests, coordinates with other agencies in monitoring manpower programs, and provides policy directions for the improvement of technical-vocational education and training nationwide.
9. Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC)
The Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC) was established through the passing of Executive Order No. 307 which aims to develop effective, responsive, and sustainable occupational safety and health programs, policies and services, promote excellent resource management, and foster mutually beneficial relations towards the creation of a healthy and safe work environment for all workers and industries. The OSHC champions the cause of work safety and health in the country, most especially through its flagship events such as the Gawad Kaligtasan at Kalusugan (GKK) and the National Occupational Safety and Health Congress (NOSH).
Programs and Services
In fulfillment of its legal mandate, DOLE, through its attached agencies, offers a wide range of programs and services that cater to different sub sectors of the labor force and respond to various labor concerns, such as child labor and social injustice in the workplace.
1. Career Guidance Advocacy Program
The Career Guidance Advocacy Program aims to promote awareness and support for career guidance and employment counseling by guiding the youth into selecting their field of study in order to avoid skills mismatch and unemployment.
2. DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP)
The DILEEP assists existing businesses transform into viable, sustainable community-oriented enterprises by maximizing their community resources and skills through integrated training on productivity improvement, work safety and health, social protection advocacy, and other entrepreneurial affairs.
3. Government Internship Programs (GIPs)
The GIP allows young, indigent workers to work in public service in hopes of inviting skilled members to work for the government, particularly in labor and employment offices nationwide. Interns are paid 75% of the region’s minimum wage.
JobStart Philippines is a collaborative project of DOLE with the Asian Development Bank and the Canadian government, where qualified applicants are invited to a series of training and paid internship programs.
5. Livelihood Assistance
Part of DOLE’s efforts to combat child labor is the provision of livelihood assistance to parents of child laborers. DILEEP also prioritizes parents of child laborers, and all beneficiaries are explicitly reminded to prevent their children from continuing working.
6. National Skills Registration Program (NSRP)
The NSRP is the online manpower database of the government, where all workers are encouraged to register in order to be visible to more employers.
7. Philippine Program Against Child Labor (PPACL)
The PPACL is the nationwide umbrella advocacy program by DOLE that aims to prevent and eliminate child labor by protecting, extracting, recovering, and reintegrating them into a society where their rights are upheld and their well-being prioritized.
8. Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program
The Child Labor Prevention and Elimination Program consists of a series of projects by DOLE which are specifically aimed at combatting child labor, such as Project Angel Tree that provides social services–from food and shelter to educational and livelihood assistance and training–to child laborers and their families.
9. Public Employment Services Office (PESO)
The PESO provides a cost-effective and speedy transmission of employment services from companies to jobseekers and acts as a nationwide hub for government agencies on the active programs and services in the labor sector
10. Sagip Batang Manggagawa (SBM)
The SBM is an inter-agency intervention program that is designed to address child labor scenarios under disreputable conditions. This involves research and planning, coordination with law enforcement agencies towards rescue, debriefing and recovery, and reintegration.
11. Special Program for the Employment of Students
As mandated in Republic Act No. 10917, the Special Program for the Employment of Students aims to assist eligible but underprivileged students in finding solutions to address their financial needs through special employment arrangements. Employers who take part in the program are responsible for the 60% of the students’ minimum wage, while DOLE provides the 40%.
12. Tulong Pangkabuhayan sa Displaced Workers (TUPAD)
TUPAD is a community-based aid package that provides temporary employment and livelihood to displaced workers, underemployed, or unemployed poor families.
There are a lot of other programs of DOLE and its attached agencies, but these are by far the most prominent and active ones.
Video: DOLE and Philippine Labor Standards
You can watch this video explaining the Philippine labor standards, as explained by DOLE below:
A video playlist on the attached agencies of DOLE and their functions may be accessed through this link:
Frequently Asked Questions
Please check out these FAQs about the DOLE Philippine government agency:
1. What is DOLE?
DOLE, or the Department of Labor and Employment, is the executive agency that is tasked to promote and protect the welfare of the labor sector by developing, implementing, and evaluating programs and policies that respond to various labor challenges and concerns faced by FIlipinos in the country and abroad. It also serves as the policy-coordinating arm of the Philippine government in the field of labor and employment.
2. What are the functions of DOLE?
The primary function of DOLE is to promote the social and economic welfare of all workers, regulate labor and employment policies, and protect the rights of workers and employers. It also spearheads the administration of labor programs, deliberates on wage policies, and develops work safety and health standards towards the enforcement of labor laws.
3. What are the benefits of DOLE?
Being employed through a DOLE-accredited office or a beneficiary of DOLE programs entitles you to:
- Medical benefits for sickness or injury
- Disability and rehabilitation benefits
- Death and funeral benefits
4. Can I apply for more than one DOLE program?
Yes, a number of DOLE programs and services are open to all, with no limits in application. There are some, however, in which you may only apply and benefit from once. Please be guided by the policies and guidelines of the program you intend to apply in.
5. Does DOLE assist OFWs? How?
Yes, part of DOLE’s responsibilities is the promotion and protection of the rights and welfare of OFWs. Through its overseas labor offices (POLOs), DOLE provides on-site programs as well as training, counseling, case management, custodial services, repatriation support, and other welfare assistance to OFWs.
DOLE is the Department of Labor and Employment in the Philippines. It is responsible for promoting social and economic welfare of all workers, regulating labor and employment policies, and protecting the rights of workers and employers.
It also spearheads the administration of labor programs, deliberates on wage policies, and develops work safety and health standards towards the enforcement of labor laws.
As a worker in the Philippines or an OFW, you are entitled to medical benefits, disability and rehabilitation benefits, death and funeral benefits, pension, etc. through DOLE-accredited offices or beneficiaries of DOLE programs.
DOLE serves as the Philippine government’s promise to FIlipinos for a healthy and prosperous livelihood through its various functions and programs. And as we continue our economic recovery in the next few years, we can only trust on DOLE to continue upholding our rights to safe spaces and fair rights in the workplace.