Working conditions in the Philippines are closely related to one's social class. Those belonging to the upper class enjoy the best opportunities in terms of job satisfaction, facilities, advancement, and choice of career. Those from the middle class are usually able to land white-collar jobs with some room for advancement by capitalizing on education, company loyalty, and hard work. Those belonging to the lower class, due to their lack of education or capital, largely engage in poorly paid manual labor or blue-collar jobs, viewed as menial in Philippine society.
The unemployment rate in the Philippines rose to 10.1 percent in October 2000 during a political crisis provoked by President Estrada's impeachment trial on charges of graft (illegal or unfair gain) and corruption. The performance of the manufacturing industry sank to an historic low and investor confidence hit rock-bottom. Nearly 3 million Filipinos were unemployed and the unemployment rate in Metro Manila reached 17.8 percent.
The Department of Labor and Employment is the main agency making and implementing labor policies and government programs. Guidelines set by the Labor Code of the Philippines guarantee equal work opportunities to all, equal compensation for work of equal value, secure work tenure, overtime and vacation benefits, safe working conditions, the right to collective bargaining, and social-security benefits.