How to Effectively Facilitate a Meeting

As HR Professionals and People Managers, one of the things we do is to run meetings either with our team members or with work colleagues. A well-facilitated meeting leads to positive results and increased productivity. It enables the group to discuss and resolve issues and strategically plan ahead. It allows all stake-holders to build on each others ideas and expands the creativity of the group.

Below are some pointers on how you can effectively facilitate meetings:

  1. Obtain Written Agenda In Advance
    Vague intentions to have a discussion on a topic rarely end on a productive note. If you are just getting started with agendas, start with a point form list of topics to be discussed and make sure that material is provided to attendees at least one day before the meeting. For better results, provide background information on the agenda so that everyone attending has the same information.

What about when you are asked to attend a meeting without an agenda? Ask, “Can you please send me an agenda for the meeting so that I can prepare?”

Tip: For frequently held meetings such as a weekly status meeting on a project, you can save time by creating a meeting template. Once you have that in place, preparing an agenda becomes a matter of filling in the blanks.

  1. Review The Attendee List
    The people in the meeting room make or break your effectiveness. I have been in MANY meetings where the key person – a manager or executive – is not present. As a result, no significant decisions can be made.

For Meeting Organizers: limit the number of people attending the meeting. The purpose of meetings is to make decisions and get work done. For the most part, meetings are not the best way to simply share information (exception: meetings are helpful to share sensitive information)

For Meeting Attendees: read the attendee list before you walk into the room. Do you see any unfamiliar names? If so, consider looking them up in your organization’s directory (or on LinkedIn). Surprises are not your friend when it comes to meetings.

  1. Manage The Meeting By The Clock
    Watching the clock is important in an effective meeting. When nobody takes charge of managing time, it is easy to become careless and unfocused. Remember – when people attend a meeting they cannot do anything else. Make the time count!

For Meeting Organizers: starting the meeting on time and ending on time (or a few minutes early!) will quickly enhance your reputation as an organized person. If you are running a large or complex meeting, consider asking a colleague to serve as time keeper. If managing meetings to the clock is challenging for you, the parking lot habit (see #4 below) will be a game changer!

For Meeting Attendees: start by arriving early at the meeting (I suggest 5 minutes for in person meetings and 1-2 meetings for conference calls). That means avoiding back to back committments on your calendar whenever possible.

  1. Use The “Parking Lot” To Manage Off Topic Discussions
    The first time I saw a meeting facilitator use a parking lot, I was impressed. This helpful device performs two useful functions. First, it serves to keep the meeting focused on the stated agenda. Second, the parking lot acknowledges important points raised by attendees.

Warning: The Parking Lot habit must be combined with the Follow Up habit if you wish to be truly effective. Otherwise, you are likely to gain a reputation for simply making a show of acknowledging other people.

As a meeting organizer, here are a few steps to use the parking lot concept.

At the beginning of the meeting, explain you expect everyone to focus their discussions on the agenda. Further, explain that this rule will help the meeting stay productive and end on time.
Keep the meeting agenda document in front of you as a guide.

Go through each agenda item
Monitor and contribute to the discussion
When someone raises an interesting point that does not relate to the agenda, say the following: “Thank you for that point, Tim. However, Microsoft Visual Studio tools go beyond the purpose of this meeting. Let me write down that item in the parking lot and I will include it in the meeting notes that I will send out by email so we can explore that point at the right time.”

  1. Prewire Important Points and Decisions
    From time to time, major decisions will be discussed in meetings. It could be a decision on which projects to fund or which projects to cancel. Serious decisions like this require the pre-wiring habit. In essence, you communicate with people one-on-one before the meeting about the decision before the meeting occurs. While time consuming, this approach increases your chances of success (and avoids surprises other meeting attendees).

Tip: For an extended discussion of the pre-wire concept, I recommend the excellent Manager Tools podcast: How to Prewire a Meeting.

  1. Take Notes For Yourself
    Taking notes in meetings is an essential skill yet I am often struck by how often people forget to do it. The key reason to take notes in a meeting is to record any questions or assignments that have been directed to you. Let’s look at how attendees and organizers can act on notes.

Take notes in a paper notebook (e.g. a Moleskine notebook or something similar) rather than using a computer, tablet or other device. Even if you have fantastic abilities to focus on the meeting, other people may assume that you are “catching up on email” instead of paying attention to the meeting if you take notes on a computer.

Taking notes for Meeting Organizers: if you plan to send minutes or a summary of the meeting to attendees, say this at the start of the meeting and explain what you will include. Sending out meeting minutes, even a few paragraphs or bullet points, is a best practice.

Taking notes for Meeting Attendees: bring a copy of the agenda and use that document to guide your note taking. Focus on the decisions made in the meeting and items that require further investigation or action on your part.

  1. Follow Up On The Meeting
    The art and science of follow up is vital professional habit and it also matters in the context of meetings. When it comes to meeting tips, following up in a timely basis is a great way to manage stress and make a good impression on others. For the best results, I suggest following up (e.g. making a phone call, writing an email etc) the same day as the meeting. For very important matters, make a note on your calendar or task management tool of choice to continue following up until you reach a resolution.




Immediate Resignation: Is it Legal in the Philippines?

Often times, I would encounter questions from employees if they can render immediate resignation with their current employers.

Truth is there is no question that a private employee may terminate his/her contract of employment by means of resignation and, generally, he/she must serve his/her employer a written notice of the intended resignation at least one month (usually counted as 30 Calendar Days)in advance prior to the date of its effectivity.

This is expressly provided for under Article 285 of the Labor Code of the Philippines which states that: “(a) An employee may terminate without just cause the employee-employer relationship by serving a written notice on the employer at least one month in advance. The employer upon whom no such notice was served may hold the employee liable for damages. x x x” However, if the employee and employer has a written contract of employment or there exists a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between them that stipulates a period less than one month, then the written notice of resignation may be submitted in such agreed period.

It is good to point out though, that the same provision of our law, Article 285 of the Labor Code, recognizes the right of an employee to terminate the contract of employment without the need of serving such written notice to his employer, provided that the cause or causes of such termination is or are any of the following circumstances: “(1) Serious insult by the employer or his representative on the honor and person of the employee; (2) Inhuman and unbearable treatment accorded the employee by the employer or his representative; (3) Commission of a crime or offense by the employer or his representative against the person of the employee or any of the immediate members of his family; and (4) Other causes analogous to any of the foregoing.”

Accordingly, if your basis for resigning from your current employment is any of the above-mentioned causes, then you are not obliged to tender your formal resignation at least one month in advance. The termination of your employment may take effect immediately in consonance with the law. If, however, your reason for resigning is other than those expressly mentioned, it is necessary for you to comply with the one-month notice rule, unless your contract of employment or collective bargaining agreement stipulates otherwise.

Not complying with the required notice period of your company gives the right to your employer to implement certain measures in accordance to their company policies.

As professionals, there is a saying that we “must not burn bridges” with our previous employers, thus it is best to always “cut clean” and leave the company knowing that you did your responsibility as an employee to properly turn-over your task, provided the company enough time to find your replacement and properly complete the Exit/Separation and Clearance Process.


Work-Life Balance


Many of us would agree than an effective work-life balance definition are two key everyday concepts that are relevant to each of us. These would be our daily Achievement and Enjoyment, ideas almost deceptive in their simplicity.

Let us always remember that life will deliver the value and balance we desire. It is when we are achieving and enjoying something every single day on a daily basis in all the important areas that make up our lives.

In totality, we can concur that daily Achievement and Enjoyment in each of our four life quadrants: Work, Family, Friends and Self having perfect harmony with each other is what really makes a perfect definition of Work-Life Balance!


How to Apply for Solo Parent ID and its Benefits


By virtue of Republic Act No. 8972, the state is duty-bound to provide comprehensive program of services, benefits, and privileges for solo parents and their children. On this page you will find how one may apply for a Solo Parent ID and the benefits available to him or her.


A solo parent, as defined by RA 8972 is:

A woman who gives birth as a result of rape and other crimes against chastity even without a final conviction of the offender, provided that mother keeps and raises the child.
Parent left solo or alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to the following circumstances:
a. Due to death of spouse.

b. Spouse is detained or is serving sentence for a criminal conviction for at least one (1) year.

c. Physical and/or mental incapacity of spouse as certified by a public medical practitioner.

d. Legal separation or de facto separation from spouse for at least one (1) year, as long as he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children.

e. Declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage as decreed by a court or by a church as long as he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children.

Unmarried mother/father who has preferred to keep and rear her/his child/children instead of having others care for them or give them up to a welfare institution.
Any other person who solely provides parental care and support to a child or children.
Any family member who assumes the responsibility of head of family as a result of the death, abandonment, disappearance or prolonged absence of the parents or solo parent.

Any solo parent whose income falls below the poverty threshold as set by the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and subject to the assessment of the DSWD worker in the area shall be eligible for assistance. A solo parent can directly inquire from the following agencies to avail of their services:

Health Services (DOH)
Educational Services (CHED, TESDA)
Housing (NHA)
Parental Leave (Employer, DOLE, CSC)

Note: A solo parent whose income is above the poverty threshold shall enjoy only such limited benefits as flexible work schedule, parental leave and others to be determined by the DSWD.


1. The applicants for the solo parent ID must bring the following documents to the City/Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office:

Barangay certification certifying Solo Parent’s residency in the barangay for the last six months
Certificates e.g., birth certificates of children, death certificate of spouse and other appropriate documentary support
Income tax return or any document that will establish the income level of the solo parent
2. The social worker receives and ensures that all documents are complete and registers the applications with an appropriate case number in the log-book Registry of Solo Parents.

Note: The ID will be issued after 30 days from filing. The validity of the ID is one year and is renewable.


Flexible work schedule

A solo parent employee has the right to vary his/her arrival and departure time without affecting the core work hours as defined by the employer. The employer shall provide for a flexible working schedule for solo parents, as long as it shall not affect individual and company productivity. In case of certain meritorious grounds, the employer may request exemption from DOLE.

No work discrimination

Employer are prohibited from discriminating against any solo parent employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment on account of his/her status.

Parental leave

The parental leave of seven (7) days shall be granted to any Solo Parent employee subject to the following conditions:

1. The solo parent must have rendered government service for a least one (1) year, whether continuous or broken, reckoned at the time of the effectivity of the law on September 22, 2002, regardless of the employment status.

2. The parental leave shall be availed of every year and shall not be convertible to cash. If not availed within the calendar year, said privilege shall be forfeited within the same year.

3. The parental leave shall be availed of on a continuous or staggered basis, subject to the approval of the Administrator. In this regard, the solo parent shall submit the application for parental leave at least one (1) week prior to availing the solo parent leave, except on emergency cases.

4. The solo parent employee may avail of parental leave under any of the following circumstances:

a. Attend to personal milestones of a child such as birthday, communion, graduation and other similar events;

b. Perform parental obligations such as enrollment and attendance in school programs, PTA meetings and the like;

c. Attend to medical social, spiritual and recreational needs of the child;

d. Other similar circumstances necessary in the performance of parental duties and responsibilities, where physical presence of the parent is required.

5. The head of agency/office concerned may determine whether granting of parental leave is proper or may conduct the necessary investigation to ascertain if grounds for termination and withdrawal of the privilege exist.

Additional Tax Exemptions

A single or legally separated individual who has a child, legitimate, illegitimate or legally adopted, is entitled to a basic personal exemption granted to a head of family. He/She is entitled also to an additional exemption of P8,000 per qualified dependent (not exceeding four). A solo parent is not entitled to the above additional exemption if he/she takes care of a person with disability who is not his/her child, unless he/she legally adopts the same.


Philippines Government Official Gazzette

Service Incentive Leaves (SIL)

What is a Service Incentive Leave (SIL)

CHAPTER 3 ART. (Philipines Labor Code)

95. Right to service incentive leave. – (a) Every employee who has rendered at least one year of service shall be entitled to a yearly service incentive leave of five days with pay.

(b) This provision shall not apply to those who are already enjoying the benefit herein provided, those enjoying vacation leave with pay of at least five days and those employed in establishments regularly employing less than ten employees or in establishments exempted from granting this benefit by the Secretary of Labor and Employment after considering the viability or financial condition of such establishment. chanroblesvirtuallawlibrary

(c) The grant of benefit in excess of that provided herein shall not be made a subject of arbitration or any court or administrative action.

Philippine Holiday Pay Matrix



What is Holiday Pay?

Holiday Pay refers to pay received by an employee on the occasion of a Regular Holiday or Special Holiday. 

For employed workers, holidays are typically looked forward to because these are rest days which give an opportunity to unwind while, at the same time, provide income without the employee having to work at all.

Employed workers need to remember that during Regular holidays (e.g Christmas Day and New Year) and Non-working holidays (e.g December 24, Christmas Eve and December 31, Last Day of the Year), proper compensation is a right under the Philippine Labor Code.

So make sure you receive the salary you are entitled to even during these holidays. Read below for a simple guide to help you check if you are receiving the correct compensation from your employer.


Regular Holidays

• If the employee did not work, he/she shall be paid 100 percent of his/her salary for that day. Computation: (Daily rate + Cost of Living Allowance) x 100%. The COLA is included in the computation of holiday pay.
• If the employee worked, he/she shall be paid 200 percent of his/her regular salary for that day for the first eight hours. Computation: (Daily rate + COLA) x 200%. The COLA is also included in computation of holiday pay.
• If the employee worked in excess of eight hours (overtime work), he/she shall be paid an additional 30 percent of his/her hourly rate on said day. Computation: Hourly rate of the basic daily wage x 200% x 130% x number of hours worked.
• If the employee worked during a regular holiday that also falls on his/her rest day, he/she shall be paid an additional 30 percent of his/her daily rate of 200 percent. Computation: (Daily rate + COLA) x 200%] + (30% [Daily rate x 200%)].
• If the employee worked in excess of eight hours (overtime work) during a regular holiday that also falls on his/her rest day, he/she shall be paid an additional 30 percent of his/her hourly rate on said day. Computation: (Hourly rate of the basic daily wage x 200% x 130% x 130% x number of hours worked)

Special (Non-working) Days

• If the employee did not work, the “no work, no pay” principle shall apply, unless there is a favorable company policy, practice, or collective bargaining agreement (CBA) granting payment on a special day.
• If the employee worked, he/she shall be paid an additional 30 percent of his/her daily rate on the first eight hours of work. Computation: [(Daily rate x 130%) + COLA).
• If the employee worked in excess of eight hours (overtime work), he/she shall be paid an additional 30 percent of his/her hourly rate on said day. Computation: (Hourly rate of the basic daily wage x 130% x 130% x number of hours worked).
• If the employee worked during a special day that also falls on his/her rest day, he/she shall be paid an additional fifty percent of his/her daily rate on the first eight hours of work. Computation: [(Daily rate x 150%) + COLA].
• If the employee worked in excess of eight hours (overtime work) during a special day that also falls on his/her rest day, he/she shall be paid an additional 30 percent of his/her hourly rate on said day. Computation: (Hourly rate of the basic daily wage x 150% x 130% x number of hours worked).

How to File for a Salary Loan in the Government – SSS Salary Loan










The Social Security Commission under Resolution No. 316-s.2012 dated 18 April 2012, approved the amendments on the existing guidelines of the SSS Short-Term Member Loans.

What is a salary loan?

It is a privilege granted by SSS to covered employees to meet the member’s short-term credit needs.

Who may qualify for a salary loan?

  1. All currently employed, currently contributing self-employed or voluntary member.
    For one-month loan, the member-borrower must have 36 posted monthly contributions, six (6) of which should be within the last twelve (12) months prior to the month of filing of application.

    For two-months loan, the member-borrower must have 72 posted monthly contributions, six (6) of which should be within the last twelve (12) months prior to the month of filing of application.

  2. The member-borrower whose employer must be updated in the payment of contributions.
  3. The member-borrower must be under sixty five (65) years of age at the time of application.
  4. The member-borrower has not been granted final benefit (total permanent disability, retirement and death).
  5. The member-borrower has not been disqualified due to fraud committed against the SSS.

How much is the loanable amount?

A one-month salary loan is equivalent to the average of the member-borrower’s latest posted 12 Monthly Salary Credits (MSCs), or amount applied for, whichever is lower.

A two-month salary loan is equivalent to twice the average of the member-borrower’s latest posted 12 Monthly Salary Credits (MSCs), rounded to the next higher monthly salary credit, or amount applied for, whichever is lower.

The net amount of the loan shall be the difference between the approved loan amount and all outstanding balance of short-term member loans.

How long will it take the member to pay back the loan?

The one-month or two-month salary loan shall be payable in 24 monthly installment to start on the 2nd month following the date of the loan, which is due on or before the payment deadline for loans per Circular No. 2011-003.

How much is the interest charged on a salary loan?

The loan shall be charged an interest rate of 10% per annum, based on diminishing principal balance, and shall be amortized over a period of 24 months. If the loan is not fully paid at the end of the term, interest of 10% shall continue to be charged on the outstanding principal balance until fully paid.

Any excess in the amortization payment shall be applied to the outstanding principal balance.

In case a loan is not paid, how much is the delinquency interest?

Loan amortization not remitted on due date shall bear a penalty of 1% per month until fully paid.

Is there a service fee?

Yes. A service fee of 1% of the loan amount shall be charged and deducted from the proceeds of the loan.



When can a member renew a salary loan with the SSS?

The loan may be renewed after payment of at least 50% of the original principal amount and at least 50% of the term has lapsed.

Proceeds of renewal loan is any amount greater than or equal to zero after the outstanding balance on the previous loan is deducted.

How does a member pay back the loan?

For employed member-borrowers, the first deduction from their salaries shall start on the second month following the date of loan. All remittances shall be made by the employer on or before the deadline for payment which depends on the 10th digit of the ER 13th digit ID number. For instance, if the ER ID number is 03-1234567-8-012, the payment deadline for member loans for the applicable month of January is February 25. Payment may be made to the SSS or any of its accredited banks.

What shall a member do if he/she transfers employment?

A member-borrower who transfers employment shall submit to his new employer an updated statement of account of any outstanding loan balance with SSS and allow his employer to deduct from his salary the corresponding amortization due, including any interest or penalty for late remittance.

For self-employed or voluntary paying member-borrowers, loan amortization may be paid to the SSS or any of its accredited Banks/Bayad Centers on the prescribed schedule of payment which is according to the 10th (last) digit of the SS number of the SE/VM.

For instance, if the SS number is 01-2345678-9, the payment deadline for member loans for the applicable month of January is February 28 (last day of the month).

In case the payment deadline falls on a Saturday or Holiday, payment may be made on the next working day to avoid penalties on late member loan payments of employers, self-employed and voluntary members including OFWs.

What are the obligations of the employer to the SSS?

The employer shall be responsible for the collection and remittance to the SSS of the amortization due on the member-borrower’s salary loan through payroll deduction.

The employer shall require new employees to secure from the SSS an updated statement of account.

The employer shall deduct and remit to SSS any outstanding loan balance of new employees.

In case of transfer, separation, or resignation, how can a borrower pay back the loan?

In case a member-borrower is separated voluntarily (e.g. retirement or resignation) or involuntarily (e.g. termination of employment or cessation of operations of the company), the employer should deduct the total balance of the loan from any benefit/s due to the employee and shall remit in full to SSS.

If the benefit/s due the employee or the amount thereof legally available for offset of obligations of the employee is insufficient to fully repay the loan, the employer should report to the SSS the effective date of separation from the company and the unpaid loan balance of the employee

What are the obligations of the employer to the SSS?

In case of default, the arrearages/unpaid loan shall be deducted from the benefits claimed by the member, whichever comes first, as follows:

1. For self-employed/voluntary member, deduction shall be from short-term benefits (Sickness/Maternity/Partial Disability).

2. In case of member-borrower’s death, total disability or retirement, the total outstanding balance of the loan including the interest and penalty, shall be deducted from the corresponding benefit.

What are the other conditions of the loan?

1. Any overpayment on a previous loan shall be applied to the subsequent loan, if any, otherwise the overpayment shall be refunded upon request of the member-borrower.

2. The borrower shall notify the SSS in case of change of address/employer thru mail/e- mail/over-the-counter (OTC). The notice should indicate the name and SS number of the member-borrower, addressed to the Member Services Section of the nearest SSS Branch, and duly signed by the member-borrower (in case of mail/OTC).

NOTE: A disclosure statement on loan transaction is issued by the SSS to the borrower upon approval of his loan (R.A. 3765, Truth in Lending Act)


What are the papers/documents needed for filing a salary loan?

A member-borrower shall submit an accomplished Member Loan Application and present Social Security Card (SS card) or in its absence, Application for SS card (SS Form E-6) acknowledgment stub and any two valid IDs listed below both with signature and at least one with photo:

  • Unexpired Driver’s License
    • Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) ID card
    • Passport
    • Postal ID
    • School or Company ID
    • Tax Identification Number (TIN) card
    • Seaman’s Book
    • membership card issued by private companies
    • Overseas Worker Welfare Administration card
    • Senior Citizens card
    • Voter’s Identification card/Affidavit/Certificate of Registration
    • ATM card
    – with cardholder’s name; or
    – with certification from bank, if without name
    • Credit card
    • Fisherman’s card issued by BFAR
    • GSIS card/Member’s Record/Certificate of Membership
    • Health or Medical card
    • ID card issued by LGUs (e.g. Barangay/Municipal/City)
    • ID card issued by professional association recognized by PRC
    • Birth Certificate
    • Baptismal Certificate
    • Marriage Contract
    • NBI Clearance
    • Pag-IBIG Member’s Data Form
    • Permit to carry firearms issued by the Firearms and Explosive Unit of PNP
    • PHIC Member’s Data Record
    • Police Clearance
    • Seafarer’s Registration Certificate issued by POEA
    • Temporary Driver’s License issued by LTO
    • Transcript of Records
    • Alien Certificate of Registration
    • Bank Account Passbook
  • Certificate from:
    -Office of Southern/Northern Cultural Communities; or
    -Office of Muslim Affairs
    • certificate of Licensure/Qualification Documents/Seafarer’s ID and Record Book from Maritime Industry
    • Certificate of Naturalization from the Bureau of Immigration
    • Life Insurance Policy
    • Birth/Baptismal certificate of child/ren

If filed by member-borrower’s Authorized Representative, Member Loan Application, Authorized Representative’s SS card or any two valid IDs both with signature and at least one with photo, Letter of Authority (LOA) signed by both the member-borrower and member-borrower’s authorized representative, and member-borrower’s SS card or any two valid IDs both with signature and at least one with photo.

If filed by Employer/Company’s Authorized Representative, accomplished Member Loan Application, Authorized Company Representative (ACR) card issued by SSS, LOA from employer and any two (2) valid IDs both with signature and at least one with photo, member-borrower’s SS card or in its absence, Application for SS card (SS Form E-6) acknowledgment stub and any two valid Ids both with signature and at least one with photo.

If filed by member’s representative, present member’s SS card or two (2) valid IDs, one of which with photo and signature, authorization letter signed both by the member and representative.


Where can a borrower file the salary loan application?

A borrower may file the salary loan application at the branch nearest the place of residence or business. A member who is registered at My.SSS can submit the salary loan application online. The salary loan submitted online by an employed member will be directed to the employer’s My.SSS account for certification; hence, the employer should also have an SSS Web account.

OFW members may also file their salary loan application at the SS Representative Offices in selected countries. In case there is no SSS office in a particular country they may send their application and supporting documents to their relatives here in the Philippines and authorize them to file at the SSS branch. Documents issued in other country should be duly authenticated or certified by the Philippine Consulate/Embassy. They may also send the application and supporting documents to Foreign Branch Expansion and Monitoring Department thru mail (3/F SSS Building, East Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City) or fax (632-435-9814).

Note: The employer shall submit an updated Specimen Signature Card (SS Form L-501) to be updated annually to avoid delay in the processing of salary loan applications.