Philippines Expanded Maternity Leave : Significant things you have to know

The Expanded Maternity Leave Bill is just a signature away from being a law. I am sure most, if not all parents; are excited and happy about it. I am grateful too for this bill although I will no longer benefit from it because I know how hard it is to leave your baby at his/her early age just to be back for work. This is a revolutionary move and a big leap in giving mothers more time to recuperate and to care for their newborns.

While we are waiting for it to be signed by the president and be implemented, let's take a look at some facts.

Do you know that the International Labor Organization recommends 98 days for paid maternity leave? In Southeast Asia, the Philippines has the lowest number of paid maternity leave days (78 days at most).

Maternity Leave Days in other countries according to the Oganization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD
  • Most of the countries offering the best Maternity Leave benefits are in Europe.
  • Mothers in the U.K., get a whole year (52 weeks) of maternity leave. Thirty-nine of those weeks are partially paid. The amount women receive over that period works out at just 12 fully paid weeks.
  • In addition to giving women the most time off, Bulgaria provide for nearly 46 fully paid weeks off.
  • Estonia rockets to the top of the charts when all forms of paid leave available to mothers are taken into account. They add up to a whopping 166 weeks, which work out at 85 weeks at full pay.

How the Bill was created?

Right in time for Women's Month in 2017, the Senate has approved Senate Bill 1305, or the proposed Expanded Maternity Leave Law, which extends the current maternity leave of 60 days to 120 days (four months). It was shared by Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who co-sponsored the bill, on her Facebook page, saying the vote was unanimous.

As of October 1, 2018; The Bicameral Conference Committee approved the final version of the proposed Expanded Maternity Leave (EML) Law offering 105 days of maternity leave, 7 days of which can be allocated to paternity leave. Single moms also get an additional 15 days maternity leave. The lawmakers passed the bill on its third and final reading with 191 affirmative votes, zero negative vote and no abstention.

The bill was defended by DIWA Party-list Rep. Emmeline Aglipay Villar, with supports from The Gabriela Party and Pia Cayetano.

What you need to know more about the Bill

The Expanded Maternity Leave bill will grant employed women 105 days of paid maternity leave from the current 60 to 78 days, with the option to extend the leave for another 30 days without pay. Of the 105 paid days of leave, seven may be transferred to the father, which will increase the paternity leave to up to 14 days.

Congress has approved legislation that would significantly increase the duration of maternity leave and require employers to top up benefits from Social Security. Currently, employees with at least three months of Social Security contributions in the 12-month period preceding childbirth or miscarriage are entitled to 60 days of paid maternity leave (78 days in the case of cesarean delivery). 

Pay replacement benefits are provided by the Social Security System (SSS) at 100% of the employee’s average covered salary and employers are required to advance payment of benefits, which are subsequently reimbursed by the SSS.

Significant provisions of the law include the following:

105 days of Social Security-paid maternity leave will be granted for normal childbirth or cesarean delivery (60 days in the case of miscarriage or emergency termination), of which up to seven days can be transferred to the child’s father (irrespective of marital status and the father’s entitlement to employer-paid paternity leave). The amount of the SSS maternity benefit will be unchanged.
Stipulations indicate that employers will be responsible for paying employees the difference between SSS maternity benefits and the employee’s average weekly or regular wages for the duration of leave. Businesses with 10 or fewer employees and enterprises in financial difficulties will be exempt from this requirement.

The paid maternity leave period will include a compulsory period of at least 60 days after childbirth.
Pay replacement benefits will be provided regardless of the number of childbirths (currently, this applies only for the first four births or miscarriages) and irrespective of marital status.
The employee will have the option to request an extra 30 days of maternity leave without pay.

Single mothers will have an additional 15 days of Social Security-paid maternity leave.
Employment protection is included (e.g., taking maternity leave cannot be used as a basis for an employee’s demotion in employment or termination).

Once signed, it would become law 15 days after publication in the official Gazette.

What are your thoughts, Mommas and Dads? Care to share in the comments below =)

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