Longer maternity leave nears okay

February 04, 2019

THE proposed law seeking to lengthen the maternity leave has been transmitted to Malacañang and now awaits the signature of President Rodrigo Duterte.

From 60 days maternity leave, expectant working mothers may soon enjoy a longer 105 days of leave in order for them to fully recover and take care of their newborn child, whether they are working in the government or private sector and regardless of marital status.

The proposed Expanded Maternity Leave (EML) law was transmitted to Malacañang for signature on January 21.

The leave benefit shall be granted to all female workers in every instance of pregnancy, miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy, regardless of frequency. In cases of miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy, the expectant mothers shall be granted 60 days of paid leave benefits.

The current law provides for 60 days of paid maternity leave for vaginal delivery and 78 days for women who gave birth through ceasarean section.

Under the proposed legislation employees who are solo parent shall be granted an additional 15 days of paid maternity leave.

The EML also allows seven days from the 105 paid leave credits to be transferred to the new father, regardless of the status.

The current law or the Paternity Leave Act of 1996 only provides seven days of paternity leave. It can be claimed by the new fathers who are married and living with the new mother and new-born child.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, who shepherded the passage of the EML in the Senate, said failure to comply with the provisions of the act will be punishable with a fine of not less than P20,000 but not more than P200,000 and imprisonment from six years and one day to not more than 12 years or both.

She said the enactment of the bill into law would bring the Philippines closer to compliance with the International Labor Organization’s standards on maternity protection, a field where the Philippine law is alarmingly inadequate.