With a final vote of 19-0, the Senate approved Senate Bill No 2982 or the Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2015 on its third and final reading last Monday, January 18.
If it gets signed into law, maternity leave duration will last up until about 100 days.
Those who will benefit from this bill are women employed in both the government and private sectors. Regardless of the mode of delivery, women can avail of this 100-day leave and can even request an additional 30-day leave.
The employee only needs to give their boss 45 days notice prior to the end of her ordinary maternity leave.
Currently, female government employees are only allowed 60 days while those employed in the private sector are allowed 60 to 78 days of paid leave depending on the mode of delivery.
Senator Pia Cayetano told the Inquirer that the Phillippines’ provision for Maternity leave duration needs to catch up with other countries in the Asean region.
She cited Vietnam and Singapore as examples; these countries provide up to 180 days and 112 days of maternity leave, respectively.
READ: Government seeks to increase maternity leave to 100 days
“The expansion of the maternity leave period shall not in any way diminish the existing maternity benefits granted by the employer. It shall not affect the female employee’s security of tenure,” said Cayetano.
For those in the private sector, the bill will provide that they receive compensation not less than two-thirds of what they’re already earning on a monthly basis.
As for SSS contributions, the bill further states, “Employers from the private sector shall pay the salary differential between the actual cash benefits received from the SSS by the covered employees and their average weekly or regular wages, for the entire duration of the ordinary maternity leave.”
According to the SSS, only two percent of female SSS members availed of maternity leave benefits from 2012 to 2014.
READ: How to compute and claim your SSS maternity benefits
Those who are exempted from complying with the bill are employers who are operating distressed or retail/service establishments with less than 10 workers, workers on commission, or those involved in production, processing or manufacturing and other task-basis jobs.
This landmark bill, once made official and signed into law will truly help many working women enjoy motherhood more as well as achieve truly rewarding careers.
As Senator Cayetano said, “Through policies like this, we aim to institutionalize standards that promote the rights of working women and protect them from discrimination based on maternity.”
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