Bridge Southeast Asia

Human Resources

Regular Holidays and Special Holidays: What’s the difference? (PayDay Blog)

With the number of holidays observed in the Philippines yearly, it’s easy to confuse Regular Holidays and Special Holidays. Here is a quick summary of their difference, plus their effect on payroll computation rules.


In general, Philippine holidays fall into either one of these two categories only:

“Regular Holidays” fall on fixed dates such as Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Independence Day. The only regular holidays that change dates each year are National Heroes Day and religious holidays. These are Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Eid’l Fitr, and Eidul Adha. In sum, Regular Holidays—from its name—are regularly observed annually, typically on fixed dates.

On the other hand, Special Holidays or otherwise also known as “Special Non-working days” have more flexible dates. Congress can enact them, or declared by the President. They may also be declared for specific regions only, such as the ASEAN Summit in 2017 which affects work and class suspensions only in NCR, Bulacan and Pampanga.


It’s important to note that payroll computation differs between the two, which includes pay rules for hours worked, overtime, and rest day premiums. The Philippines’ Official Gazette has put together below a quick guide about this on their site:

Regular Holidays and Special Holidays Payroll

For the full resource from the Official Gazette, click here.

Of course, there may still be additional rules for organizations to factor in payroll computation. This includes provincial holidays, or special rules affecting companies that observe foreign holidays. BPOs are one example. That said, organizations that are particular about payroll accuracy often use software and engage a professional payroll services provider to take care of this on their behalf.

I Was One of Them But Now I’m a Convert!

I do not understand why the computations were wrong.

 Were we using a system that provided accurate computation?

Why was I marked absent when I was sure that I clocked in and out?

These were just some of the questions that I had in my head every time it was payday. I always dreaded the day most people looked forward to because I was always 90% sure that there would be a problem and it was very frustrating.

I was not an all out complainer. In fact, I never really bothered to fill out forms to dispute my concerns formally since I felt that “ they were the Human Resources (HR) department, so they would know better and fix the problems eventually”. In other words I was pretty much apathetic. At that time, I did not realize that not raising these concerns to the HR team was also a form of complaint. The fact that I kept my complaints to myself only made the problems worse. If I had just raised my concerns immediately then the HR team would have been able to address it quickly.

This is just one example of a common complaint against HR and as you can see, it’s not really a productive thing to do. Let’s now look at some common complaints against HR these days and see how one can deal with them by being part of the solution rather than the problem.


Philippine payroll is by far one of the most complex and time-consuming processes I have ever encountered. It is not easy, especially when you are running payroll for hundreds and thousands of employees. Most of the complaints regarding payroll computations boil down to timekeeping, scheduling, payroll and reporting. When you encounter a problem with your payroll computation the first thing you must do is stop and reflect then, communicate with the team involved to understand and resolve the issue.

 For a change, start thanking your payroll team for each time you get your pay correctly and in a timely manner. It will change your perspective as it changed mine.


Government loans are an added perk from the SSS, Pag-Ibig and PhilHealth. A lot of employees make sure that their contributions are accurate in order to maximize this benefit. Processing of government loans has three parts to it. First, is the submission of documents. Second, is HR processes it with the local government office. Third, is the waiting game, this is where a lot of complaints come up and we sometimes forget that the HR team has no control over the government process. So instead of complaining, let us change our perspective and prepare for when the loan is released and make a day out of it. Remember, patience is a skill and a virtue.


Everyone wants more benefits and higher pay, which is not a bad thing at all. Employers always want to make sure that both salaries and benefits are market competitive. Benefits are a gift given by the employer as an extension of their gratitude towards all the hard work done by an employee. In fact employers are not required by law to give benefits outside of what is required by the government such as PhilHealth and SSS. We also have to remember that all the perks a company gives are to help make an employee’s professional and personal life better. When you suddenly have the urge to rant about your benefits and notice what is lacking and not at par with your standards, think again, benefits are like gifts, they are freely given.


How did you fare during your mid-year evaluations? All of us need to go through performance evaluations to make sure we are aligned and know what we need to do to get where we need to be. Sometimes we question HR for the policies on managing performances and question how we are being rated. Let us remember that being evaluated is a good thing. It will encourage us to be accountable for all our deliverables and will ensure that our line managers guide us and empower us to hit our goals. Performance Management should be something we look forward to, simply because we should want to make sure we never settle for anything less than excellence.

Like many of you who are reading this blog, I was also someone who regularly complained about what the HR department was doing. But rather than sulk, what I decided to do was to be part of the solution and joined the wonderful world of serving the workforce.

So yes, I am now a convert. From being somone who complained about the HR department, I’m now an HR professional! While I wouldn’t  advise you to do what I did, . I do advise you to cur down on the complaining and start finding ways you can actually help make your HR department better.

5 Emerging Global Trends in HR

Human Resources (HR) is such an important part of an organization, but it is also one of the departments that struggles to adapt to new and advanced work methods. Having said that, how do we transform HR in line with upcoming trends to strengthen our recruitment process, manage our workforce, and find the right technology to complement our work?

Here are five HR global trends every HR professional must know:


Getting data is now easier and more affordable, especially with the help of platforms and professional networking. HR leaders can definitely be more strategic with planning and execution through the use of data. HR planning and decisions will be highly driven by data. How the team analyzes the data it has gathered will be an important factor in achieving goals and driving initiatives.


With all the new technology and growing skills needed to be globally competitive, the human resources team needs to make sure that it utilizes in-house talent and experts to train its staff. Learning new skills need not be expensive. If you look at the demographics of your workforce, someone who is younger and well-versed in social media can impart their knowledge to their older colleagues. Encouraging peer-to-peer learning is a great way of promoting stronger relationships and company culture.


Change is expected to happen, and that is why global trends require HR to use smarter operational methods, which will support the employees mind, heart, and skills. There will always be a challenge to stay ahead amidst global, economical, and demographical shifts, especially when a big percentage of the workforce are baby boomers and are now entering their retirement age. The goal of HR teams must be to integrate the mission, culture, and human side of the business with employee engagement and strengthen the company’s foundation.


Performance reviews are always dreaded by employees because it’s too long and complicated that they end up walking out of the meeting more clueless than they were in the beginning. To fix this, let’s keep it simple and adapt Peter Drucker’s S.M.A.R.T. method. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time bound) .We also need to make sure that the leaders schedule quick meetings with their team members regularly— this will help with communication and feedback. Finally, look at how to simplify the process by using a platform to help you manage performance reviews efficiently and effectively.


We have all seen those big books for code of conduct and other HR policies and procedures. But who reads them from cover to cover? Part of making sure that HR adds to the human side of the organization is making sure that everyone understands its blueprint. By creating simple and straightforward policies and procedures, it will encourage employees to use it as a guide to be champions of the company’s mission, vision and values, rather than a penalty rulebook. This will promote a healthier partnership between the employees and HR.

It’s important to always keep an open mind to the global trends in Human Resources and use them to drive and promote an organization’s mission, vision, and values. Understanding the new methods of working efficiently and effectively will prepare HR teams in running the future of today’s complex and diverse workforce.

Missionaries Not Mercenaries: Thoughts on Team Building

In our quest to Make Work Life Better, we’ve realized that we need a specific type of person on our team. This is not to say that Bridge people are more superior, but simply speaks to the type of fit we seek. Yes, we look for skill and capability when we screen potential hires, but as we refine our criteria for an ideal team member, a few statements recurringly come up that describe the kind of person that fits at Bridge:

1. Hungry: A Missionary Not a Mercenary
We look for people who are hungry and not apathetic or stuck in a comfort trap. We look for people who don’t rely on fallbacks, who don’t hedge on family, and who are hungry for more than money and validation, but hungry for our shared purpose: to Make Work Life Better. I don’t like mercenaries, people who simply trade their time for what they want. I like missionaries, people who don’t get dressed to perform tasks, but people who wake up to burn. They’re not constantly wondering, “Is this good for me?” but instead are obsessed with the idea, “The world needs what we have. How do we spread our message?”

2. Team Player: A Team Before Me Mentality
Vanity is a silent killer. Vanity is having excessive pride in or admiration for one’s own appearance and achievements. This doesn’t mean the vain person is outwardly proud. All of us can be vain. The word vanity also means worthlessness. It is worthless to be so proud about our achievements. It doesn’t encourage teamwork and team accountability but hero worship. Vanity makes us put ourselves before our team, it makes us easily rejected, easily discouraged, or easily proud. We want people who aren’t vain and more focused on serving others more than themselves.

3. Diligent: A Back of the Cabinet Conscientiousness
I love the story from Steve Job’s childhood where his dad taught him to paint the back of the cabinet even if no one sees it. It illustrates perfectly the type of excellent level we like to see in our people. We like people who pay careful attention to doing a good job even in the areas no one sees – because it’s impossible to be sustainably excellent if we’re only awesome with the things people can notice. People who have this level of conscientiousness aren’t like this because someone polices the but because they’re craftsmen. They’re not excellent for the sake showing they’re excellent. They care deeply about the output they offer the world.

4. Commitment: A Whatever It Takes Devotion
“What’s my job description?” is a typical question I get. And my standard answer is, “That’s the wrong question. The question is ‘What’s our mission?’ Answer that and you’ll know what to do.” Because when the ‘why’ is clear, when the reason for being around, for being together is clear, and if we have people who really embrace the mission, then the answer to the “What’s my job description?” question is simple: WHATEVER IT TAKES. Having this mentality is one life hack that will assure constant growth. I like to tell our team, “10 years from now it won’t matter so much whether you can do inbound marketing or write an analysis. What will matter more is that you can clarify a vision in your head, strategize a path from where you are to that vision, and creatively, resourcefully, and diligently make that vision a reality.” You develop those skills by never accepting your best excuses and always doing whatever it takes.

5. Purposeful: Intentionally Outwardly Impactful
This is very closely connected to #2 Being a Team Player. Many very awesome people have come and gone at Bridge. It’s been a very tiring and challenging journey, but that’s what startups are like. The important thing is that our ranks are filled with leaders who are intentionally outwardly impactful instead of inwardly focused. Let me break that down: Intentional means they are deliberate and organize themselves to Impact Outwardly, meaning they are intentional about serving the needs of others. I like to remind them that fame doesn’t necessarily mean impact, it simply means attention. Impact is the quiet drop that ripples through the whole lake. Impact is the small stone that felled Goliath. Impact is the acorn that became an oak.

In one of our recent hire interviews, I asked the young lady applying what she would do if she had all the money in the world. She said she would get further studies and become a CPA so that she can get a better job. I asked why she would need a better job if money weren’t an issue, and she said, “If I had all the money I need?” having a hard time with the idea of unlimited funds. I said, “Yup. All the money you’ll ever need.” She then started to cry, bowing her head in embarrassment. “Sorry, sir.” she said. I told her it was ok but I would like to hear her answer. “I would support our church and Bible school. That’s why I want a better job. That’s why I want to be a CPA.If I had all the money in the world I would fund our church and Bible school. The building is old, we need books…” She went on about her desire to serve her community. I sent a message to Carla, who heads up our People Solutions, “Where’d you find this girl? She’s awesome.” It’s not so much the religious inclination that resonated with me but her desire to impact others, so much so, that thinking about it made her cry. People like her inspire me to push our mission forward.

6. Mature: Embraces the Necessary Hard Things
Business is hard. Startups are hard. Heck, life is hard. But it’s also beautiful. It’s also amazing. And it’s in the process of struggle, of growing, of transcending, that we are able to reach peaks, that we are able to enjoy great achievement. At Bridge, it is important that we all maintain a level of maturity that understands that our goals have a cost, and because we have great goals, we are going to pay a great price, and this is not necessarily a bad thing but all part of the process. We need to all get good at embracing the necessary hard things that make us better and bring us closer to our goals. In other words, we need passionate people, not passionate as popular culture understands it which is all feelings-based, but passionate as the original meaning defines it: suffering. We need people mature enough to understand that reaching lofty goals involves a level of suffering, and embracing these increases our chance of success.

7. Teachable: Desires to Learn More than to Prove Smarts
I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people tell me, “I love to learn”. Which I follow-up with a question: “What’s your systematic process for ensuring constant and relevant learning?” To which I usually get a blank look as a response. I’ve found that very few people truly love learning. Most people like random interesting things. They like trivia. They like the idea of knowledge. What most people don’t like is the discipline of learning. There’s a big difference between knowing data and learning how to master the data. True learners are not simply about gathering bits of knowledge but about developing understanding, which we like to define as empathy (understanding how things affect people by putting ourselves in their shoes) and wisdom (understanding how to address the issues and pains of life as we encounter them).

I want to add that the single biggest thing I’ve seen that prevents true teachability is the Vanity I mentioned above. When a person is too proud of his or her achievements, so overly concerned with how they’re perceived, with their identity, with being appreciated, this person becomes difficult to teach. Every piece of data isn’t seen for what it is but for how the data can advance them or how it hurts them. Vanity makes a person too small to be taught. So a good way to ensure a teachable culture is to only hire team players who have gotten over themselves.

Bridge on a Mission
These are a very difficult set of criteria to screen for, as I don’t think it’s possible to screen these in a short amount of time, leaving us to make our best guess many times. Even more, these are incredibly difficult standards even for our current team, me included, to live up to. But that’s how you know you’re values are truly value-able, that they cause you to aspire to be someone greater than your current self in order to be people of greater worth. I struggle with each of the 7 criteria at different times and different levels, but it’s a struggle upward to become more like our ideals, keeping in mind our central why, our purpose, as we start every work day at 7am, plod until the job is done, and journey as a team on a mission to Make Work Life Better through technology and services. Amazing payroll is just the start. We can’t wait to share more.