What is DOLE? Department of Labor and Employment Philippines

The Department of Labor and Employment, otherwise known as DOLE, is the primary governing body in-charge of the administration, creation, and enforcement of Philippine labor laws as well as the protection and promotion of the rights, welfare, and safety of Filipino and foreign employees in the country. Launched in 1908, the agency has grown from a humble bureau agency to the department that it is now. Even so, their mandate to protect the workers in their jurisdiction by offering training and development, employment facilitation, labor dispute settlement, social protection, and policy-making services continue to this day.

Also Read: What is OWWA? Overseas Workers Welfare Administration

As an agency with over 100 years of experience and achievements to back it up, DOLE has established not only a wide range of programs and services designed for Filipino workers, but also a reputation as an advocate of fair employment. To learn more about DOLE, its actual role in the employment market and in your life, as well as the available programs and services it offers, you may check out this guide.

What is DOLE?

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is the government agency in-charge of a wide range of programs and services related to the creation, implementation, preservation, protection, and promotion of the Philippine labor laws as well as the rights and well-being of Filipino and foreign workers in the Philippines. 

It started out as a small bureau agency, the Bureau of Labor (BOL), in 1908, before it evolved into the Department of Labor (DOL), thanks to the provisions of the Republic Act 4121. In 1980, it became the Ministry of Labor and Employment (MOLE), before a reorganization led to its evolution into the current Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

As the prime agency responsible for everything related to jobs and employment in the country, DOLE is also in-charge of promoting gainful employment, protecting the workers’ rights, improving working conditions, developing socio-political and economic policies, creating laws, and implementing programs and policy-creation and coordination initiatives in the field of labor and employment.

In simpler terms, DOLE is the go-to agency in the Philippines when it comes to labor and employment. So, if you ever encounter problems, hiccups, or any concerns related to your job in the Philippines, regardless if it’s a local or an international company, DOLE is the place to go. The same applies for complaints, advice, and permits related to Philippine-based employment.

Who is DOLE for?

DOLE was established primarily for the Filipino workers’ protection and support, though there are other groups who may benefit from the agency’s existence. Such groups include:

  • Those who want to know more about the working conditions in the Philippines
  • Those who have problems with their employers
  • International workers enjoying temporary work permits here in the Philippines.
  • Trade Unions
  • Local Workers
  • Worker Organizations, Employers, and Employee Groups (e.g., TUCP, ECOP, Chamber of Commerce, etc )
  • Non-government organizations (NGOs)
  • Government agencies 
  • The academe
  • Partner international organizations (e.g., ILO, IOM, IMO, UNDP, UNICEF, etc.)
  • The international community, especially host countries where there are OFWs  

Mission, Vision, Objectives, Functions, and Responsibilities of DOLE

Like every other agency, DOLE is guided with a mission and vision statement and their mandate is explicitly stated as their functions and responsibilities to the Filipino workers. 


As an agency, DOLE’s existence is purported by the need to create sustainable, safe, and gainful employment opportunities while maintaining industrial peace for Filipino and foreign employees in the Philippines and abroad. 


The agency intends to be the go-to place when Filipino workers and even OFWs feel the need for help. The intention is to empower the workers through safer and better employment opportunities. The agency’s vision statement also mentioned developing human resources, safeguarding and promoting the welfare of workers, and maintaining industrial harmony in the country. 

Functions and Responsibilities

Some of the key functions and responsibilities of the DOLE include:

  • Promoting social and economic welfare of Filipino workers
  • Regulating labor and employment conditions including but not limited to economic, political, and labor market situations and policy developments
  • Protecting workers’ rights and assist them in the event of employer-employee relationship issues
  • Provision of employment services both to local and migrant workers to ensure that their well-being is protected
  • Wage and salary administration 
  • Monitoring and regulation of employment contracts and other job-related documentations and align it according to the government’s general policy objectives
  • Development of occupational safety and health standards and ensure that they are observed accordingly
  • Development and enforcement of labor laws and regulations, and community development and reintegration program
  • Research and development on general labor and employment policies
  • DOLE also set up policies related to:
    • Basic Pay
    • 13th Month Pay and Bonuses
    • Overtime pay
    • Premium pay
    • Night Shift Differential (NSD)
    • Separation pay
    • Retirement pay
    • Leave Benefits
    • Periods with regular meal and break
    • Leave as a reward for service
    • Parental leaves
      • Maternity leave
      • Paternity leave
      • Solo parent leave
    • Special leaves for Women
    • Contributions
      • Social Security System(SSS)
      • Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF / PagIBIG)
      • Philippine Health Insurance Company (PhilHealth)


DOLE continues to commit to its mission and vision statements to be able to carry out the following objectives:

  • To improve the employability of the workers, develop human resource and match skills supply with job vacancies
  • To improve the competitiveness of MSMEs and promote enterprise productivity to support job creation
  • To enforce labor standards, labor education, and tripartism for fair and just employment policies and conflict resolution
  • To improve social protection and employment opportunities especially for vulnerable workers
  • To streamline DOLE processes for more efficient and responsive services

DOLE Programs and Services

Here are some of the programs and services people can expect from any DOLE office:

DOLE Programs

  • Employment Facilitation Program

The Employment Facilitation Program is a nationwide program meant to help jobseekers get access to the latest trends and openings in the labor market. The program also helps with job placement and training which helps both employers and potential employees connect.

  • Youth Employability

DOLE’s Youth Employability Program (DYEP) is an initiative designed to help unemployed out-of-school children and graduates gain access to training programs, emergency employment, and entrepreneurial endeavours. 

  • Special Program for the Employment of Students (SPES)
  • JobStart Philippines Program
  • Job Search Assistance

DOLE also offers resources like resume creators, job search workshops, and database of job vacancies to help Filipinos in their  job hunt.

  • Public Employment Service Office (PESO)
  • Labor Market Information (LMI)
  • Employment Preservation and Regulation Program (EPRP)

Under the Employment Preservation and Regulation Program (EPRP), DOLE, through their regional and field offices, protects workers by creating laws, policies, and industry standards and implements them to regulate and amicably resolve disputes between employers and employees.

  • Labor Laws Compliance

DOLE enforces labor laws and periodically conducts inspections to ensure that all businesses treat their employees fairly. The laws also ensure that employees stay safe and unexploited and that they stay happy getting the compensation they deserve.

  • Labor Inspection Program
  • Tripartism and Social Dialogue

DOLE also conducts discussions and negotiations to engage with all the stakeholders via tripartism and social discourse in the formulation of public policies and in settling public disagreements and conflicts.

  • Workers Organizations Development and Empowerment

DOLE also makes all the necessary resources and support available to all workers groups in the country so they may effectively advocate for the workers’ rights, interests, growth, and empowerment.

  • Workers Organization and Development Program (WODP)
  • Labor and Employment Education Services (LEES)
  • Case Management

DOLE also provides case management services so employees who sustained work-related injuries are protected. The program also offers financial and other support to ensure that the injured workers can recover and return to work without problems.

  • Single Entry Approach (SEnA)
  • Speedy and Efficient Delivery of Labor Justice (Project SpeED)
  • Workers Protection and Welfare Program

This is a comprehensive programme offered by DOLE to provide financial support and other benefits including death payments not just to workers, but also to their families in the event that a worker becomes ill or injured on the job or in cases of death due to their employment.

  • Livelihood and Emergency Employment 

The Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program, is a DOLE-initiated program meant to assist unemployed, underemployed, or displaced individuals find temporary employment so they can bounce back and start earning a living again.

  • Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program
    • Kabuhayan Program
    • Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged / Displaced Workers (TUPAD)
  • Welfare Services

The DOLE welfare services is a program that offers assistance related to finances, job placements, and even counselling. It was designed to help unemployed, underemployed, and marginalized workers in the Philippines become productive members of the society.

  • On-site Welfare Services for OFWs
  • Reintegration Services for Overseas Filipino Workers

DOLE also offers programs to help returning overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) re-adjust to life back home via skill-building programs that will help them find or build suitable livelihood and stable finances upon their return to the country.

  • Assist WELL (Welfare, Employment, Legal, Livelihood)
  • Livelihood Development Assistance Program (LDAP)
  • Balik Pinay! Balik Hanapbuhay! Program (BPBH)
  • Financial Awareness Seminar – Small Business Management Training (FAS-SBMT)
  • Documentation of OFWs
  • Verification of Overseas Employment Documents

DOLE takes the responsibility of checking the legitimacy of the employment documents of Filipinos who are planning to find jobs abroad outside of the country. This includes validation and verification of such documents necessary in the issuance of Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC)—an obligatory document  all Filipino workers need before they can work in a foreign country.

  • Emergency Repatriation Program

The Emergency Repatriation Program (ERP) was established by DOLE as part of the initiative to assist workers who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. This program covers OFWs who have been laid off or whose employment has been negatively affected by the pandemic. Under the ERP, displaced and repatriated OFWs are offered financial help to cover the cost of their travel back home to the country.

DOLE e-Services

  • COVID-19 Response
    • COVID-19 Adjustment Measures Program (CAMP)
    • DOLE-AKAP Application
    • DOLE-AKAP Status Inquiry
    • Project EASE Registration and Status Inquiry
    • Tabang-OFW Status Inquiry
    • OASIS (OFW Assistance Information System)
  • DOLE E-services
    • Safety Seal Certification
    • Establishment Reporting System (ERS)
    • Online Union Registration System (OURS)
    • Single Entry Approach (SEnA)
    • PhilJobNet Job Portal
  • Attached Agencies E-services
    • Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC)
      • Case Docket Checker System
    • National Conciliation and Mediation Board (NCMB)
      • Request for Certificate of No Pending Case
      • Case Docket Monitoring System
    • Professional Regulation Commission (PRC)
      • Application for Examination
      • Initial Registration
      • Renewal of Identification Card
      • Certifications of Board Rating and Passing 
      • Verification of Rating
      • Verification of Licenses
      • Certificate of Passing and Board Rating
      • Continuing Professional Development Accreditation System (CPDAS)
      • Queue Management System for Key Frontline Services
    • National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP)
      • Online Verification of Certificate
      • NMP E-Research Portal
      • Online Registration
    • Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC)
      • Training Programs
      • Technical Services
    • National Wages and Productivity Commission (NWPC)
      • E-Apply for Productivity Toolbox
      • Learning Session
      • NWPC e-Learning Portal
    • National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC)
      • SENA – e-Request for Assistance

Video: DOLE Philippine Labor Standards Guide

Some of the things that DOLE watches out for has everything to do with workers and labor standards. In this explainer video posted by DOLE Labor and Employment Education Services, you can learn more about the Philippine Labor Standards, particularly those that new hires need to know.

On the other hand, if you want to learn more about the programs and services offered by DOLE, you might find these videos helpful:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are the common questions that people usually ask about DOLE:

1. What kind of support does the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) offer?

As the prime agency for everything related to labor and employment, DOLE can offer support if you ever need any, so long as it falls within the following areas:

  • Information about the labor market (local or otherwise), including, but not limited to employment trends, labor force statistics, and skill sets and job vacancies pairing.
  • Services that improve job matching, including career counseling, resume reviews, and job search workshops.
  • Training opportunities to help upgrade workers’ skills or offer professional certificates.
  • Assistance in finding jobs through DOLE partnerships and linkage with local government units (LGUs), private organizations, educational institutions, and other relevant government agencies.

2. Does the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) offer training to OFWs?

Yes. As part of its program offerings, DOLE, via the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) (formerly Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA)), regulates overseas employment by requiring attendance to pre-departure education programs and orientation seminars related to health and safety, security, culture, and labor laws in destination countries. It also mandates licensed recruitment agencies to complete training programs to ensure that they deliver quality service to OFWs.

3. Are DOLE and OWWA the same?

No. DOLE is an executive agency tasked to promote social and economic welfare of workers, regulate labor and employment conditions, and protect workers’ rights. On the other hand, OWWA is but an attached DOLE agency whose main function is to watch out for the interest and well-being of OFWs and their families.

4. Does DOLE help OFW?

Yes. Through OWWA and POLO, DOLE offers various programs and services for OFWs. Some of them include workers’ training, case management, custodial services, repatriation and reintegration support, and other welfare and livelihood assistance, among others.

5. Is it possible for me to apply for multiple DOLE programs and services?

Yes. There’s no limit to the number of DOLE programs and services that you can apply for and avail of. In fact, the agency encourages everyone to take advantage of the wide range of DOLE programs and services, so long as you meet their requirements.

6. What does it mean to have a weekly rest day?

It simply means that after six days of work within the week, the employer, particularly those working with OFWs, should organize a 24-hour day off or rest day after consulting with the employees.

7. What is a wage and what are wage-related benefits?

Wage is the sum of money paid to an employee in exchange for completing a task, completing a piece of work, or providing a service to an employer for a specific period. Note that it is different from salary in the sense that the pay is decided depending on the work or time spent. Wage-related benefits, on the other hand, refers to additional payments including overtime pay, night differential, rest day, holiday, and 13th month pay. It also covers the fair and reasonable value of board, lodging, and other services provided by the employer on a regular basis.

8. How does payment of wages work?

By law, wages are supposed to be paid in cash, with legal tender, at or near the employee’s workplace. However, wage payment may also be made through a bank, that is, if the majority of the workers in establishments with at least 25 employees or more make a request and the bank is within one (1) kilometer from the workplace. Wages are usually paid directly to the employees at least once every two (2) weeks or twice a month at intervals of not more than 16 days.

9. What kind of job opportunities are available at the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)?

As one of the fastest growing government agencies, DOLE offers a wide range of employment opportunities for working professionals, from top government officials to entry-level employees. Interested applicants only need to be at least 18 years old and with at least a high school diploma and the ability to communicate in English and Filipino to join the department from any of the available entry-level positions. For those with Bachelor’s or Master’s degree, they have more options in terms of career with DOLE, if they are interested in joining the department. The department also allows employees to develop further, by offering options for them to develop their skills while they work. 

For more detailed information on available job positions with DOLE, interested applicants may visit the DOLE website via this link: https://www.dole.gov.ph/careers-dole/.

10. Who can partner with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)?

Any organization, from private organizations to local government units and other agencies, may forge a partnership with the department so long as they both have the same goal of improving the welfare of Filipino workers. These partnerships may also vary, and may take the form of joint projects, memoranda of understanding (MOU), memorandum circulars, or letters of agreement.


The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is the government’s primary agency-in-charge with everything that has something to do with labor and employment. Its mandate to make policies, coordinate, manage, and promote safe and fair employment opportunities, and develop the domestic and international manpower resources of the country has been in place for over 100 years.

As an agency, DOLE is also in charge of protecting the rights and welfare of the Filipino workers in the Philippines and abroad. Having said that, they also created industry standards and conducted inspections to maintain humane, harmonious, and stable conditions for all concerned parties in terms of labor and employment.

In a nutshell, DOLE is the go-to agency for you if you are a Filipino or a foreign employee in the Philippines and you have concerns about your job. The same rings true if you need advice or assistance regarding the Philippine labor laws or if you are an OFW seeking support related to contracts, visas, sickness, injuries, disability, rehabilitation, and death.

Contact Information

If you have any question or concerns regarding DOLE and its programs and services, you may contact them directly via the following contact information:

Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Office Address: Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Building, Muralla Wing cor. General Luna St., Intramuros, Manila, 1002, Philippines

Office Hours: Monday – Friday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm (except holidays)

Telephone Number: 0285273559

Website: https://www.dole.gov.ph/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/laborandemployment

DOLE Contact Form: https://query.dole.gov.ph/queries/submit

DOLE Call Center Hotline Number: 1349

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