Paternity Leave - 5 Things Employed Fathers Should Know About
Hey, Dad! Expecting a baby soon? Enjoy 7 days of bonding bliss with your newborn by finding out how you can file for a paternity leave.
When my wife’s water broke, I was walking to work on what started out to be the most mundane day of my life. She called me up on my phone, and it was time! Immediately, I made a U-turn back to my car to pick her up. With a smile on my face, I was cool and collected as I left all my work behind me, without guilt or worries. This was because I knew the paternity leave had my back.
Whether you’re a first-time father or a baby-making veteran, the paternity leave will always come in handy. According to Republic Act 8187 or The Paternity Leave Act of 1996, fathers of newborns are entitled to 7 priceless days along with full pay and mandatory allowances.
So once you find out your wife’s got a bun in the oven, run to your company’s HR office to talk about it! Here are 5 things to bear in mind when filing for paternity leave from work:
1. Notify your HR office when your wife is due.
This requires a prior visit from her OB. My daughter came out exactly on her due date, so my office had a clear heads-up on my absence during that time. If required by your HR, submit photocopies of medical records.
2. Make sure you that you are legally married to your wife and that you are living with her under the same roof.
It helps a lot if you have copies of your marriage certificate when you pay a visit to the HR office. So bring that along with your wife’s ultrasound and other medical documents that prove her pregnancy. If you don’t have a copy of your marriage certificate, you may order one at the NSO website and it’ll be delivered to your home within three days after bank payment.
3. Don’t file if your spouse is giving birth to your fifth child.
The law states that the paternity leave maxes out at the birth of your fourth kid. Also, if you’re having more than one kid out of a single pregnancy, you’re not getting more than 7 days off. Bummer. But at least you’re getting more than one kid, right?
4. Paternity leave applies not only to childbirth but to miscarriage as well.
Although morbid and quite depressing, it’s helpful to keep in mind that your wife will need the support of her loving spouse should she have this traumatic experience.
5. You can take your leave only after childbirth or miscarriage.
There have been instances, however, when an HR office allowed the father to take his leave several days after the baby was born. This is a special arrangement you may take up with your employer.
If your employer does not comply with or recognize the paternity leave, you better call the Department of Labor (DOLE) to come rescue you. For complete details of RA 8187, you may review the Handbook of Workers’ Statutory Monetary Benefits updated just last January 2014 by the Bureau of Working Conditions of DOLE. It comes in both English and Filipino versions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: JUSTIN POSADAS
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