Longer benefit

February 23, 2019

A WORKING mother in the government or private sector breastfeeding and taking care of her newborn for the first 100 days is a very refreshing sight in this nation of more than 100 million people.

That’s why Leyte Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez lauded President Duterte for signing into law a measure extending the paid maternity leave for women from 60 to 105 days.

A registered nurse and wife of Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) president Martin Romualdez, Mrs. Romualdez is Tingog party-list group first nominee in the May 13 polls.

But Romualdez was quick to emphasize that the landmark “Expanded Maternity Leave Law” should not be used by management as an excuse to discriminate women in the workplace.

In fact, she called on the public to remain steadfast in fighting discrimination against women, noting that the Constitution recognizes the role of women in the gigantic task of nation-building.

“We thank President Duterte for supporting the proposal that would definitely give ample time for mothers to nurture, take care and breastfeed their newborns for the first 100 days,” she said.

The law grants the 105-day paid maternity leave for expectant working mothers in the public and private sectors, with an option to extend an additional 30 days without pay.

The old law provided for 60 days paid maternity leave for normal childbirth and 78 days for caesarian delivery.

Akbayan party-list Rep. Tom Villarin, on the other hand, described the measure, which was endorsed by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III as a “priority legislation,” as a decisive win for women.

For now, the new law is seen to provide better benefits to the country’s ordinary working women and help alleviate the issue of mothers leaving their newborns for work.