Everything You Need to Know About Being A Virtual Assistant in the Philippines

The Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a Virtual Assistant: Part III

Last time, we talked about how you can become a Filipino VA through the various means that exist. This time, we face the technicalities of being a virtual assistant, head-on, and address the important things you need to know about the job.

What the Labor Code says, how you can get paid, and the cultural differences you’ll have to stay aware of – all in Part III of our series to help you have the best knowledge available.

Philippine Labor Laws: What Does It Say About Virtual Work?

The answer: not very much, unfortunately. 

For one thing, the Labor Code does not have specific stipulations about online or virtual work. But there are things we can rely on in other parts of the Code and in Department Order 174 from the Department of Labor and Employment.

It is first important to determine what kind of employee you are at your new virtual job. Responsibilities, pay, and even benefits will depend on which employee classification your new employer puts you under. The lines can be vague between being a full-time/part-time employee and being an independent contractor. This is a question you will have to address before any decisions about taking the job can be made. Knowing what kind of employee you are in the company is crucial to negotiating pay, benefits, and responsibilities. It can also help protect you legally in the future. 

Once you know what kind of employee the employer is looking to hire and after you have negotiated what you want, make sure to get all of this in writing to protect both yourself and your employer. Keep in mind that a contract will include a warranty on the part of the employer that their remote employee (you, in this case) are complying with local tax laws. Most money made from virtual work does not need to be taxed, but you should remain aware of the laws that surround it in case the need arises.

Methods of Payment: How Can You Get Paid?

Virtual work is made all the more convenient by the ease money can be transferred from one person to another, even from across the world.

For VAs in the Philippines, these are the most popular ways to get your pay:

PayPal

PayPal is a convenient platform for both you and your employer’s use because it is an international and a safe reputable platform for transferring money.

PayPal helps people transfer money, but adds a charge depending on the source of the transfer and the destination. It also has a higher exchange rate for foreign currencies than the markets.

TransferWise

Similar to PayPal, TransferWise allows the transfer of money from across the world. The key difference, however, is that TransferWise takes at least 2 days to transfer money while PayPal does it almost instantaneously.

Another difference is that TransferWise uses market exchange rates, which is a big plus.

Western Union

Western Union is one of the most popular platforms for sending and receiving money, with hundreds of physical stores in the Philippines as well as operations online.

But that convenience comes with a price. Namely, the fee that Western Union charges for sending money that can vary depending on the amount being sent. Who will handle any extra fees is a question that will have to be addressed at the beginning of the hire to avoid any miscommunication on the matter.

Cultural Differences: What Can Be Done?

While the Philippines and its people generally have many similarities with the West, there still remain some cultural differences that, if remain in the dark, can be a hindrance to the working relationship of both parties. Acknowledging these differences can go a long way towards building trust, understanding, and compromise in a working relationship.

Tight-knit family relations 

Perhaps the biggest difference that exists between Filipinos and their Western counterparts is the role and importance of family. While family, of course, is important in all cultures, Filipinos place the family at the very center of their lives.

This can lead to conflicts with work commitments if someone in the family has a birthday or if there is an important family event to attend. While it may seem obvious to Filipinos that they are allowed time off to attend to their family, it may not seem as obvious to their foreign bosses. 

This means you will need to be clear about the family commitments you want to attend and come to a compromise with your employer on hours and pay, who may not want to lose those precious hours of productivity from you.

Critique & feedback 

Critique and feedback can be a touchy subject. On one hand, it is an important part of any working professional relationship that can improve the productivity and work quality of both parties. But on the other hand, it can feel disheartening to receive negative feedback and anxiety-inducing to have to give feedback to your boss.

But on this, we can definitely tell you that your employer will appreciate the feedback and the openness to receiving feedback and critique in return. It is important to remember that feedback is not necessarily a negative thing, even if it is constructive criticism of the work you have produced. Oftentimes, it is given as a way to motivate you and improve your work. It is also something that should be strictly professional, which means that it has nothing to do with you as a person, but only to do with the work you produce as an employee of the company.

Conclusion

There are many benefits to being a virtual assistant in the Philippines. The pay, the hours, and the opportunity to work for international corporations is a huge draw for the job. 

But it’s important to remain conscious of what that job entails. Laws can change at any moment that could impact the way you work, and without an agency to keep you informed of it, it can be hard to keep track of things. You should also know the various popular ways people in the industry get paid, become familiar with the platforms, and know what to ask when it comes to negotiations.

And on a less technical but still important side, it is important to remember that cultures are different all around the world, and what you are used to is not necessarily what you should expect when you become a virtual assistant. Being aware of this and adapting to it can mean the difference between success and failure as a VA in the Philippines.