Employment can be defined as the continuous use of a worker’s services as part of an enterprise, with appropriate compensation for the work done.

The concept of continuous use means that employment contains a dimension of permanence, which can define the length of time that a worker is employed by a particular employer. Thus, employment opportunities can be further classified according to permanence.

It must be noted that these further classifications can intersect with both full-time and part-time employment arrangements.


When an employee is taken on by an employer for an indefinite amount of time, the employee is considered to be in permanent or regular employment where they are given a position that is required by the enterprise indefinitely. Positions that are integral to operations or cannot be easily removed without drastic organizational changes can be classified like this, such as officer-level or higher positions.

Entry-level positions can be considered regularized upon a completion of a probationary period, usually 6 months, during which the employee will be observed for performance and compatibility with company culture. These positions are also regularized but restricted by specific headcounts that are dictated by the needs of the team to which they belong.

Finally, specialized positions such as Safety Officers or Quality Management personnel are often regularized by the organization because their functions cannot be performed by any other personnel.

Regular or permanent employment ends only upon resignation of the employee, or duly-processed termination after sufficient grounds have been identified such as grave misconduct, violation of the employer’s confidence or incurrence of damages to the company.


On the other end of the line, we have employment opportunities that are only opened for a specific need within a designated time frame. Non-permanent employment is inclusive of positions involved in construction work, industrial fabrication, marketing campaigns, events personnel and other project-oriented positions. Employees signing up for this kind of employment understand that their employment duration ends upon completion of the project. Upon said completion, the project personnel are obliged to undergo the appropriate exit procedure after which they will no longer be employed by the organization.

Projects are usually scheduled between a few weeks to several months, which reflect the effective duration of employment. This arrangement is embodied by an employment contract that states the duration, compensation, benefits, entitlements & rights, and sanctioning procedure that will take effect for the employee.

Temporary and seasonal jobs also fall into this category, often with only minor differences in arrangement.

This is actually the kind of employment that most corresponds to the contractual label in labor terminology. Filipino society has attached a negative connotation to this arrangement due in large part to the limited duration of the opportunity, especially for a country where career opportunities are at an undesirable ratio with the number of jobseekers.

With that being said, there are other uses for contractual employment that can legitimately help professionals grow. Contractual non-permanent employment can and has frequently been used to evaluate a prospective regular employee, who can be absorbed into the organization upon completing of the project with satisfactory performance. In addition, arrangements like this can last for much longer than other short-term project employment opportunities, especially in the context of manpower supply. Service contractors entering an agreement for a set number of years with a client will supply that client with personnel, who will be employed under the project for as many years as the service agreement is valid. Such employment can also be extended by the service contractor when the client extends or renews the service agreement. In the Philippines, this practice is covered by legislations set in place by the Department of Labor & Employment.


Employment in consultancy is more commonly found among professionals who have an established career in a specific field. Employers who acquire their services can use their expertise to augment operational quality and efficiency. This is common practice in the corporate, academic, legal, medical, industrial, technological, financial, and mass media professions. Consultants are here understood to be external employees, who provide their services upon the employer’s need.


There are some other forms of work that are confused with actual employment. Most often, misinformation lies in the assumption that all work is paid work.

Internship, for example, is an arrangement where an aspiring professional is given theoretical instruction and on-the-job training in preparation for future employment in their chosen profession, usually within the organization that trained them. The work done has no compensation in the sense of money or benefits.

Apprenticeship is similar to internship, but mostly applies to trade or vocational skills such as those involved in masonry.

Volunteer work is, as defined by the word volunteer, work done by a person who is willing to contribute man-hours and effort to achieve an organization’s goals, without expectation of compensation. The issuance of stipends for volunteers cannot be considered compensation, since the value of this allocation must be justified by the basic living expenses and official tasks of the volunteer.

In understanding what is employment and what is not, we may enhance our reflection on professional life. What is most important is that we identify what employment arrangement suits our needs, furthers our goals and helps us uphold our principles. This will inevitable guide us to the type of employment that will strike a balance between our productivity and our satisfaction.

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