APPROVED: Expanded Maternity Leave Law
The Philippine Senate on Monday (6 March) approved on third and final reading the bill seeking to raise the maternity leave for expectant mothers in the private and government sectors to 120 days.
The senators, in a 22-0 vote, approved Senate Bill 1305 also known as the Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2017. Senate committee on women, children family relations and gender equality chair, Senator Risa Hontiveros, authored the bill.
Under the bill, all female workers, regardless of civil status or legitimacy of her child, should be granted 120 days of maternity leave with pay, double the number the current law allowed. In addition, expectant mothers will also be given the option to extend the maternity leave for another 30 days without pay. Solo parents, on the other hand would be granted a total of 150 days of paid maternity leave.
What should you know about Senate Bill 1305?
The bill, if passed into law, will also allow fathers to enjoy a 30-day leave – more than the allowed seven days of paid leave under Republic Act 7322.
The measure also provides that 30 of the 120 days may be transferred to alternate caregivers, such as the spouse, common-law partner, and relative up to the 4th degree of consanguinity, including adoptive parents.
Here are other important provisions of Senate Bill 1305:
- The full payment shall be advanced by the employer within 30 days from the filing of the maternity leave application.
- Workers availing of the maternity leave period and benefits must receive not less than two-thirds of their regular monthly wages. “This cash benefit should allow her to maintain herself and her child or children (in case of multiple births) properly in health and in overall well-being,” Pangilinan said.
- Employers from the private sector shall be responsible for payment of the salary differential between the actual cash benefits received from the Social Security System (SSS) by the covered female workers and their average weekly or regular wages, for the entire duration of the ordinary maternity leave, with some exceptions.
- Employees who avail themselves of this benefit shall be assured of security of tenure. This cannot be used as basis for demotion in employment or termination. The transfer to a parallel position or reassignment from one organizational unit to another in the same agency shall be allowed, provided it shall not involve a reduction in rank, status, or salary.
In a press release, the Senate of the Philippines said various studies show the positive health impacts of paid parental leave on the health of children and mothers.
In the bill filed last July, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan cited the Public Health Reports from 2011, which said that an increase in the length of paid maternity leave can reduce infant mortality by as much as 10 percent.
According to the report, paid maternity leave also increases the likelihood of infants getting well-baby care visits and vaccinations, and the rate and duration of breastfeeding which is known to be very beneficial to the health of mothers.
Hopefully, the new bill will make things easier for working mothers, especially since this would allow working moms to care for their child and get started on breastfeeding them, which would help them develop better and keep them strong.
READ: 5 Ways to cope with the end of your maternity leave
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