Philippine Holidays in 2017 and 4 Ways to Deal with PTO

When you work with a Filipino virtual assistant, it pays to know when the Philippine holidays will be. In most cases, your Filipino worker would expect paid time off (PTO) especially during the regular holidays. If you want to specify that would VA would be working over these holidays, you would have to offer over time pay.

But before talk more about PTO and how to work around the holidays, here’s a calendar of 2017 Philippine Holidays you can use. We used the information straight from the Philippine Government , so all workers and business in the Philippines should follow this schedule.

Regular Philippine HolidayDate
New Year’s Day 1 January (Sunday)
Araw ng Kagitingan 9 April (Sunday)
Maundy Thursday 13 April
Good Friday 14 April
Labor Day 1 May (Monday)
Independence Day 12 June (Monday)
National Heroes Day 28 August (Last Monday of August)
Bonifacio Day 30 November (Thursday)
Christmas Day 25 December (Monday)
Rizal Day 30 December (Saturday)


Special Philippine Non-Working HolidaysDate
Chinese New Year 28 January (Saturday)
EDSA People Power Revolution Anniversary 25 February (Saturday)
Black Saturday 15 April
Ninoy Aquino Day 21 August (Monday)
Additional special (non-working) day 31 October (Tuesday)
All Saints Day 1 November (Wednesday)
Last Day of the Year 31 December (Sunday)

We also have these dates on Google Calendar so you can use it with your project management software.


As you can see, the Philippines observes a lot of Christian holidays mainly because the country is predominantly Catholic. In the past, it might be difficult to ask your VA to work on a religious holiday. But with the influx of call centers and outsourcing companies in the country these past few years, more and more Filipino employees are now working over the holidays. That being said, it’s now easier to negotiate with your VA to work on these days, given the proper incentive of course. With regards to how and how much you should pay, you have several options:

The OnlineJobs.Ph Way

Here at, we talk about PTO very early on in the hiring process. And John has made it clear from the very beginning that we get Filipino holidays off, some vacation and sick leave (after a probationary period).

You can choose to do the same, if you want. This works for us because it allows us to have the same holidays as most Filipino workers. John’s been criticized for doing this (I know because I’ve seen the comments on our Facebook pages, hehehe) but I can honestly say this has worked well for us. Me personally, I appreciate that John is pretty lenient and I do whatever I can not to abuse his trust.

Also, since most of us work from home, it didn’t make sense to us take a lot of leaves when we can work basically anywhere.  I’ve had co-workers who were able to work while they’re on vacation. Weirdest place I’ve worked in was in a McDonald’s ballpit while my daughter was attending a classmate’s birthday party. My sister worked through having her hair curled and colored (a 12 hour procedure) because she had mobile data and the salon had Wifi. I had a friend who worked from her laptop while in a moving jeepney.

But if you’re really worried about your employees not working when they should, you can always use  TimeProof. It’s free and you’ll see if your employees are taking more days off than actually working. If you’re not happy with their work, you can deduct their pay accordingly.

The Filipino Company Way

If you have plans to eventually set up shop in the Philippines, adopting the system that most Filipino companies use would be a good way to go. That way you don’t won’t encounter any legal problems once you open your doors and you’ll get used to the system early on. Workers for Filipino companies usually have regular holidays and some special non-working holidays off. Common practice is if you need your employees to work during the regular holidays, you’ll need to pay them twice their daily rate and 1.3 times their daily rate on special non-working holidays. You can use this guide that shows you exactly how to compute for holiday pay.

The Hourly Rate

If you’re paying your Filipino virtual assistant an hourly rate, you don’t need to pay them extra during the holidays. If your arrangement is that they can work anytime as long as they work for the number of hours that you paid for, then it’s their choice whether or not to work over the holidays.  I think the only exception to this would be if you specifically asked them to work more hours during the holidays. If that’s the case, it would be fair to pay a little more.

Your country or state labor laws

If your Filipino virtual assistants are working in your timezone or you consider them your employees in every way, you could also adopt your country’s or state’s labor laws when it comes to holidays or paid days off. This would mean that they would get the PTO rates on how your company does it on Philippines holidays OR they get PTO and holiday pay during your holidays. If you want your Filipino workers to fit in with your company culture or you have plans to fly them in eventually, this would be the best approach.  That way they can start acclimatizing and they’ll be able to bond with the other employees in your company.

Regardless of which option your choose, the best way to approach PTOs with your Filipino virtual assistant is to have this conversation early on, even before they start working if possible. Lay your cards on the table. Insist that they also let you know what they expect.  That way there are no surprises down the line that could damage your working relationship.

How do you deal with paid-time-off when you outsource? Do you have a different way of doing things, outside of what we mentioned here? Let us know in the comments below!

2017 philippine holidays




About Julia Jasmine Madrazo-Sta. Romana

Julia  is a scientist turned writer and social media manager for a number of local and international websites. She’s also a full-time mom, a science communicator focused on IT and science news from Davao City and a campaigner for internet rights.

In her spare time, she and her husband likes to binge watch on cooking shows, bad movies, and Disney Junior shows.


  1. LIZ MIRANDA says

    I recently hired a VA, full time, 40 hours, on a monthly salary. I pay her regardless of how many hours she works, First week of employement she had a power outage, I did not deduct pay. Week 2 she had a family in hospital, I will not be deducting her pay

    My questions is what would be standard sick day policy in Philippines? In other works how many days off should they have a year?

  2. Carlos says

    This article has a lot of good information, but it needs some heavy proofreading. It was difficult to understand several parts.

  3. Ben O'Brien says

    Last year there was some option where you could add all of the dates to Google Calendar, it was very helpful. I hope you bring it back for 2018! 🙂

  4. Jackie says

    I am interested in hiring a Philipino assistant but I am stuck on 2 Points.
    1. How to I actually pay them without it costing me Wire Transfer Fees each week when he wants to be paid.
    2. How do I ensure that we do not have a leak or hack of confidential information? Do most employers allow the worker access to the employer computer network? I know keeping up Firewall Security is important on the US side, how to I know the home-based worker has sufficient security in place?

    • says

      Hey Jackie!

      1. How to I actually pay them without it costing me Wire Transfer Fees each week when he wants to be paid.

      You can choose to use a different payment system or instead of paying weekly, you can pay every 2 weeks or monthly.

      2. How do I ensure that we do not have a leak or hack of confidential information?

      There are no guarantees but there are ways you can prevent it. 1st and foremost would be to limit your VAs access to information that they need, no more no less. You can also use apps like lastpass so your employees can have some access without giving them your password.

      Do most employers allow the worker access to the employer computer network? I know keeping up Firewall Security is important on the US side, how to I know the home-based worker has sufficient security in place?

      It depends on the job. To ensure that they have sufficient security, you can also request them to use firewalls or VPNs

  5. Rob @ Money Nomad says

    Great article! I have a quick question: What’s the difference between Regular Holidays and Non-working Holidays?

    Is one paid/required, and the other not?

  6. Scott Milford says

    I’m working out the details of which special holidays I will give my VA time off (with or without pay) and which are going to be work holidays. In America, some holidays are more important than others. Such as Good Friday. While many observe it, we generally don’t get a day off from work for it.

    So which special holidays are generally treated as day-off holidays by most companies in the Philippines and which are not?


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