The short answer: none. Since you’re hiring Filipino virtual assistants as independent contractors, you’re technically not required to provide extra benefits aside from their flat monthly rate.
But here’s the kicker:
If you want to attract top talent — and keep them in your company for years to come — providing perks that match regular employee benefits in the Philippines will help you achieve your goal faster.
You’re not the only company hiring Filipino virtual assistants. The Philippines remains to be one of the world’s top outsourcing destinations — thanks to low costs, a ridiculously skilled talent pool, and a friendly business environment. As an employer, you’re facing stiff competition from industry bigshots and small businesses alike.
By adding benefit packages on top of a competitive salary, you’re able to:
So, what benefits should you provide your Filipino remote workers? To give you some ideas, we’ll discuss the mandatory benefits employees in the Philippines receive, plus other perks that you can sprinkle into your own benefit packages.
Most Filipinos work 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. By law, they’re entitled to 5 paid times off per year. These are called service incentive leaves or SILs.
5 SILs are hardly attractive, so most companies go beyond that. On average, Filipino employees annually receive:
This excludes times off during regular and special holidays like Christmas, New Year, or Holy Week. As an overseas employer, you have the option to follow these standard time off benefits or offer alternative policies of your own.
Expecting mothers in the Philippines can take up to 105 days of paid maternity leave. If they’re a solo parent, they get additional 15 days off. Employers are not responsible for paying their employees during this time. Instead, the country’s social security system grants a maternity cash allowance to eligible members.
Working dads can also get time off to take care of their partners and newborns. They can get up to 7 days of paid paternity leave.
If you’ve been reading up on how to hire Filipino assistants, you’ve probably heard of the term 13th-month pay.
13th-month pay refers to the additional prorated payment Filipino employees get at the end of each year. Anyone who’s been employed in a company for at least a month is entitled to a 13th-month pay.
Is it a bonus? Kind of.
But unlike Christmas bonuses — which are optional — Filipino employers are required by law to give their staff 13th-month pay. Most companies give it in full at the end of the year, while others divide it into two payouts — one during the middle of the year and the other half in December.
If you’d like to include this in your benefits package, here’s how to calculate it:
Annual basic salary / 12 months = 13th month pay
For example: If your assistant gets $12,000 a year, then they’ll receive $1000 — or a full month’s salary — as their 13th-month pay.
What if they’ve been employed for less than a year?
If your assistant has been employed for less than a year, you can prorate their 13th-month pay based on the number of months they’ve worked in the company. In that case, use this formula:
(Monthly salary x months worked)/12 = 13th month pay
Let’s say your assistant has been with you for five (5) months. Using the example above, here’s what that would look like:
$1000 x 5 months = $5000
$5000/12 = $416.67 will be their 13th-month pay
Private Filipino employers are required to contribute to the country’s universal healthcare plan, PhilHealth. Many local employers also add generous medical and dental insurance benefits to attract more candidates. These health insurance policies can extend to their employee’s dependents (spouses, kids, parents).
Now, how do healthcare benefits translate to virtual assistants and other remote workers?
Since they’re classified as contractors, virtual assistants and other remote workers are expected to pay for their own PhilHealth contributions. As of 2022, that’s around PHP400-PHP3200 (around $8-$65), depending on their monthly basic salary.
Enrolling in a private health insurance policy or HMO, on the other hand, can cost them around PHP10,000-60,000, depending on various factors like:
The Philippines’ Social Security System (SSS) provides private workers with:
Like PhilHealth, remote contractors are expected to pay for their own SSS contributions.
According to the latest fee schedule, your virtual assistant can pay anywhere between PHP 240 to PHP2400 (around $5-50) per month, depending on their declared salary bracket. They can also opt to pay their SSS contributions quarterly or annually.
Did you know that the Philippines has a state-run savings and home development program? Also known as PAG-IBIG, the Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF) provides its beneficiaries with:
Typically, employers cover a portion of their workers’ HDMF contributions. But again, since virtual assistants and remote contractors are classified as “self-employed”, they have to pay the full amount themselves. According to the latest information, their contributions can amount to 1-2% of their monthly salary, depending on how much they earn.
For example, if your assistant earns $1000 or roughly PHP50,000 a month, they’ll have to contribute PHP1,000 to their HDMF contributions.
BPO workers in the Philippines often work night shifts to match the time in North America and Europe. Because of this, the government has mandated employers to give an additional 10% to workers who clock in between 10 pm to 6 am the next day. This additional pay is called a night differential.
Now you know the benefits full-time employees in the Philippines typically receive — what are the possible ways to match them? Are there alternative perks you can provide instead?
Remote employers like you have a ton of options. Here are some of them:
You can offer more vacation and sick days than the average local company. Another option would be to grant your VA time off during Filipino holidays instead of American ones. This way, someone can keep things running even when you’re on break during major holidays like Thanksgiving.
Better yet — consider a flexible leave policy where your remote staff can take as many sick and vacation days as they need, provided that they meet deliverables on schedule. They should also be responsible for endorsing tasks properly.
Working online has a lot of benefits, but one obvious downside for Filipino virtual assistants is that they have to pay for all their government contributions out of pocket.
If you want your job offer to stand out from the competition, you can opt to cover these contributions. Try baking in an “allowance” into their monthly salary. It’ll set you back a few bucks, but it will still cost you way less than if you hired locally.
Monthly salary - 1000
PhilHealth (4%) - 40
SSS - 50
HDMF (2%) - 20
If you can afford to pay an additional $110 to attract and retain top talent, this could be a good option.
To make sure that your assistant is allocating their allowance into their contributions, turn it into a reimbursement program. This is more transparent — plus it encourages your assistant to pay their contributions on schedule.
Many foreign employers don’t bother with 13th-month pay, so adding this to your benefits package can help you attract top Filipino talent. Use the formula above to calculate your staff’s 13th-month pay.
Christmas is a big thing for Filipinos. Aside from 13th-month pay, employees typically receive a Christmas gift basket that contains goodies like Christmas ham, traditional queso de bola, and — believe it or not — ingredients for a killer fruit salad.
Even if you opt-out of providing a 13th-month pay or Christmas bonus, try sending a small but thoughtful Christmas gift basket to your assistant. They’ll surely appreciate the gesture!
Reward top performers with monetary incentives. You can set goals each quarter and award your remote assistants when they hit key metrics or quotas. Having a goal boosts productivity and can even encourage friendly competition among your team.
You can also use performance evaluations as a guide when giving someone a raise in salary.
Help your assistant build a more productive home office by providing a work-from-home stipend. You can grant a fixed amount for each team member within a set timeframe — say, $100 per month, $250 per quarter, or $1000 per year — and let them spend it on equipment, ergonomic furniture, or devices to improve their WFH setup.
Alternatively, you can add a coworking space allowance or reimbursement package. There are lots of awesome coworking spaces in the Philippines equipped with fast internet, backup power, private offices, and refreshments. This might turn out to be more cost-effective for you and your remote team.
You can also provide an allowance or reimbursement program for health and learning. Your assistant can use this for stuff like gym memberships, healthy food, therapy sessions, subscriptions, and classes that can contribute to their overall health and personal development.
Let’s face it — working remotely can be a lonely affair. If you’ve got a distributed team in the Philippines, carve out a budget for an annual meetup or team-building activity. Being able to see each other in real life can help your team build strong relationships with each other and boost overall morale.
To provide the best benefits for your team, you have to make sure that these perks would actually be useful to them. Before you head to the drawing board to create that benefits package, consider the following factors:
Will these benefits be available as soon as the person is hired? We recommend you wait until your VA is 3 months into the role before offering all or some of these benefits.
Another thing to consider is employee retention. Will employees be eligible for more perks the longer they stay in the company? How will you use these benefits to keep attrition down?
Will these benefits make sense for the role? For example, adding a Canva Pro subscription might be great for your social media team, but your remote accountant might not benefit from it at all.
Consider the needs of the role. What benefits will your team find useful? How does it help them grow?
Do you have enough financial runway to cover these benefits? Will you be able to provide the same perks to your team as you expand?
Lastly, do these benefits align with your company’s values and goals? For example, if you say you’re on a mission to promote work-life balance but are providing little to no benefits that support that, applicants might find your job offer disingenuous. Make sure your benefits package reflects your company culture.
Providing sensible benefits on top of a competitive salary can help you attract — and retain — awesome team members from the Philippines. We hope that by learning about the typical benefits Filipinos receive, you’ll be able to create a benefits package that makes sense for your and your remote team.
If you’re still looking for remote Filipino staff, we’re just one click away. Let us know about the roles you’re hiring for and we’ll match you with the right folks.
Regular Filipino employees typically receive:
Virtual assistants who work for overseas clients are technically classified as independent contractors, so they don’t receive the usual benefits. Remote employers, however, are welcome to provide benefits at their discretion.
Virtual assistants and other remote talent from the Philippines cost 80% less than their US counterparts. Depending on factors like experience and skill set, the usual rate for a full-time general VA is around $800-$1000 per month. Learn more by downloading our salary guide.