Employment relationships and decent work

Five-day Course on Evolving Forms of Employment Relationships and Decent Work

In the national context of ongoing debates relating to pending legislations and proposals of labour law reforms, the ILO CO-Manila, in partnership with the International Training Centre ILO (ITC-ILO) and the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR), conducted a five-day course on “Evolving Forms of Employment Relationships and Decent Work”.

This course aimed to strengthen the capacity of the government and the social partners to use international labour standards (ILS) to enhance labour rights and social protection of workers in ‘non-standard’ employment relationships. The course also examined regional and national experiences.


Workshops and other group activities were given to the participants which enabled them to:

  • Analyze the trends concerning patterns of employment relationships;
  • Gain insights into the main policy debates and legal development concerning the protection of workers in ‘non-standard’ forms of employment at the international and regional level;
  • Acquire an in-depth knowledge of international labour standards and regional instruments dealing with the following categories of work arrangements: fixed-term and part-time work, domestic work, agency work and ambiguous and disguised employment relationships;
  • Consider different approaches to protecting the above categories of workers; and
  • Apply the instruments examined and the knowledge acquired in their respective work contexts.

 The participants came from the Department of Labor and Employment, Civil Service Commission, tripartite institutions, workers’ and employers’ organizations. They came from the different regions and sectors including the export processing zones and the informal economy.

Programme and lecturers

The course covered two modules:


Module 1 establishes the framework which includes the current patterns of employment relationships; the ILS system the Decent Work paradigm and evolving forms of employment relationships; and the current debates on and regulatory approaches to ‘non-standard’ employment relationships.


Module 2 discussed the protection of workers in ‘non-standard’ employment relationships, ILS, regional instruments and national approaches to fixed-term, part-time work, agency work, and ambiguous and disguised employment relationships.

These modules were taught by experts from ITC-ILO and the ILO. Moreover, the course featured a member of the ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations among its lecturers, and a Labour Law Professor from South Africa.


This course training served as a forum to constructively examine the law and practice relating to various NSFE arrangements in various sectors in the Philippines. While there were disagreements whether NSFE arrangements have advantages or not, nevertheless, there was an agreement on the existence of challenges to the observance of the rights and working conditions of workers in these forms of employment. Among the critical issues identified were: the different treatment between agency work and workers directly employed by the user enterprise; the continuous renewal of fixed-term contracts with no access to social protection or occupational safety and health; the existence of disguised form of employment; risks of losing jobs in case of unionization. The course also gave DOLE the opportunity to clarify certain provisions in their legislative proposals.