A proposed law that will further broaden the maternity benefits for working women is awaiting signature into law by President Duterte, the labor department said over the weekend.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said the law in-waiting will extend the maternity leave period to 105 days for female workers in the government and the private sector, including those in the informal economy. It is a priority legislation for the labor department, he said.
“We strongly support its passage into law to provide the working women with ample maternal care and ensure their safety and health. We have actively pushed the passage of this bill,” Bello said.
The bill also underwent review by concerned government agencies, including the tripartite council.
“We exerted efforts on this and I have high hopes it is signed by the President very soon,” Bello said.
The DOLE chief underscored the proposed law’s consistency with local and international instruments that promote the rights of women.
“Female workers who avail of the benefits of the expanded maternity benefits shall likewise be assured of the security of tenure,” Bello said.
The expanded maternity bill aims to grant additional maternity leave benefits to all female workers regardless of civil status or the legitimacy of her child.
From the current 60 days, working women shall enjoy 105 days of maternity leave with full pay and an option to be extended for an additional 30 days without pay.
Moreover, in case the woman worker qualified as a solo parent, she shall be granted an additional 15-day maternity leave with full pay.
In the government sector, the proposed law is applicable to all female workers regardless of employment status.
In the private sector, a female SSS member who has paid at least three monthly contributions in the 12-month period immediately preceding the semester of her childbirth, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy shall be paid her daily maternity benefit which shall be computed based on her average monthly salary credit for 105 days.
Women workers in the informal economy are likewise entitled to maternity leave benefits if they have remitted to the Social Security System at least three-month contributions in the 12-month period immediately preceding the semester of her childbirth, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy.
Female national athletes are also covered by the proposed expanded maternity leave benefits upon evaluation of a physician from the Philippine Sports Commission. The covered athlete shall continue receiving her allowance and be entitled to the same maternity benefits.
The International Labor Organization (ILO) Maternity Protection Convention of 2000 sets the maternity leave to 14 weeks, including a period of six weeks compulsory leave after childbirth. At present, the Philippines has one of the shortest duration of maternity leave in the ASEAN region.