I recently gave birth to my second baby and though I am not employed (in the complete sense of employment), I am sharing these details about the 2017 Expanded Maternity Leave that I think moms should know.
Our current law allows 60 days of paid leave for mothers and seven days of paid leave for fathers. And we know that this is just not enough to recover from the hardships of pregnancy and childbirth.
The Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2017 or Senate Bill 1305 authored by Senator Risa Hontiveros hopes to make a difference in the lives of Filipino parents by giving them more time to care for their newborns. It was approved on third and final reading at the Senate on March 6, 2017. It seeks to grant 120 days of maternity leave to expectant mothers.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The bill has not reached the President’s desk yet. Senate Bill 1305 or the “Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2017” has only been approved on third and final reading.
I will update this blog once this bill has been signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Here are the things you need to know about the Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2017:
* All women workers, regardless of civil status or legitimacy of her child, shall be granted 120 days maternity leave with pay and an option to extend it for another 30 days without pay. This would make the Philippines compliant with the International Labor Organization’s standards on maternity protection, which mandates a minimum of 98 days maternity leave.
* Single mothers shall be granted a total of 150 days maternity leave with pay.
* Fathers shall be granted 30 days of paternity leave.
* Of the 120 days maternity leave, 30 may be transferred to other caregivers. These include the spouse, common-law partner, and relative up to the fourth degree of consanguinity.
* The employer shall advance full payment of the leave within 30 days from the filing of the maternity leave application.
* Women who avail of the maternity leave and benefits must receive not less than 2/3 of their regular monthly wages.
* Women who avail of this benefit shall be assured of security of tenure. It cannot be used as basis for demotion in employment or termination.
* The counterpart measure in the House is pending second reading approval. The 100-day Maternity Leave Law or House Bill 4113 seeks to grant 100 days of paid leave to women workers regardless of civil status, miscarriage, abortion, and pending administrative cases. It includes an option for female employees in the government or private sector to seek an additional 30-day leave without pay.
House Bill 4113 needs to be approved by Congress first before it is presented to the bicameral committee along with Senate Bill 1305. It is the consolidated bill which would then be forwarded to President Rodrigo Duterte for approval before it becomes a law.
It may be worthwhile to note, however, that a similar measure, which sought to grant 100 days of maternity leave, was approved in the 16th Congress. It was not enacted.
Messy bun, pale face, time with the kids. Who can relate? 😀
Who are covered by the Extended Maternity Leave?
a. This applies to all female workers in the government and private sectors.
b. Covers both types of birth-giving methods: caesarean operation or normal delivery.
c. Fathers of the newborn child.
Does this include miscarriages?
Apart from granting the mandatory maternity leave to the employee, what are the other obligations of employers under this law?
a. The employer shall give in advance the employee’s full payment of the leave no later than 30 days from the filing of the maternity leave application.
b. Female employees who file for the maternity leave is entitled to not less than 2/3 of their regular monthly wages.
c. Female employees must be able to enjoy these leave benefits without prejudice to their security of tenure and cannot be used as basis for demotion or termination from employment.
What happens if the employer refuses to grant the mandatory maternity leaves?
The bill offers no excuses for erring employers. A penalty of PHP 20,000.00 and imprisonment of up to 12 years awaits any employer proven to have violated the new law.
Senator Risa Hontiveros said, “It has been truly insufficient in keeping up with the health needs of women, and the nutritional needs of their children,” She said the initiative would lead to higher morale, deeper loyalty and longer-term employment within the company, all of which are elements of sustained productivity.
The current number of maternity leave days is well below the international standard of 98 days stipulated in Convention 183 of the International Labor Organization, which the Philippines has committed to. We also have the shortest paid maternity leave policy in Southeast Asia. Hihi.
The expanded maternity leave would better the health of both mother and child. Women would be less likely to take additional leaves in order to tend to sickly newborns or to their own well-being. Studies have found that in addition to providing a mother with more time to recover from the physical, mental and emotional effects of childbirth, longer paid leave also reduces infant mortality by as much as 10 percent. It can also prevent the baby’s stunting while strengthening the child’s immune system due to the longer time it gives mothers to breastfeed.
There you go! Hope this helps employed women- pregnant or trying to. Let’s all keep posted for the update on this bill. What do you think about it? Write your thoughts in the comment section and let’s talk!