Philippines

PRRD signs Expanded Maternity Leave bill into law; Solon says longer maternity leave, ‘massive victory for women’

PRRD signs Expanded Maternity Leave bill into law; Solon says longer maternity leave, ‘massive victory for women’

By Azer Parrocha and Filane Mikee Cervantes

MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — President Rodrigo R. Duterte has signed into law a bill that extends the maternity leave of female workers in the country from 60 to 105 days with full pay, Malacañang said on Thursday.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, in a statement, said Duterte signed the Expanded Maternity Leave bill into law on Wednesday.

Former Special Assistant to the President (SAP) Christopher “Bong” Go also confirmed in a separate statement that Duterte signed the bill.

“Indeed, this new law ensures expectant working mothers enough time to ensure the best possible conditions for a healthy delivery,” he added.

Won’t hurt women’s careers

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said he believes the Expanded Maternity Leave will not hurt the employability of women or make employers reluctant to hire them.

Panelo said employers should consider giving women additional leaves and benefits as part of their “social service.”

“Yung dagdag ng (the expanded) maternity leave–number of days as well as the benefits–that will only lessen the profits. Eh malaki naman talaga ang profit ng mga employers (Employers are already earning so much),” Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

“Kumbaga, social service nila ‘yun (They should consider it as a forum of social service),” he added.

Panelo noted that employers who would not hire women to prevent paying for leaves and benefits will be held accountable.

“Aba’y bawal ang discrimination sa’ tin (Discrimination is prohibited in our country), they will be accountable to that. (So) I don’t think they will,” Panelo said.

“Saka mga Pilipino (And Filipinos are), family-oriented, these industrialists, businessmen will understand,” he added.

Follow the law

Panelo encouraged employers to follow the new law, regardless of what is stipulated in their companies’ rules and regulations.

”They will have to follow the law now. Wala na silang (They don’t have a choice) choice, they will have to follow the law,” Panelo said.

The Expanded Maternity law grants 105 days of paid maternity leave to all working mothers in government and private sector with an option to extend their leaves for another 30 days without pay.

Meanwhile, female workers qualified as solo parents will also get additional 15 days of leave.

The International Labor Organization Maternity Protection Convention of 2000 has set the maternity leave to 14 weeks, including a period of six weeks compulsory leave after childbirth.

Prior to the signing of the law, the Philippines is one of the ASEAN countries that have the shortest maternity leave duration aside from Malaysia. (PNA)

Longer maternity leave, ‘massive victory for women’: solon

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday hailed the signing into law of the Expanded Maternity Leave Act as a “massive victory for women and their families.”

“The signing into law of the Expanded Maternity Leave Act is a moment mothers, families, and children will not only remember, but a victory generations of Filipinos will reap the benefits of for the rest of their lives,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

Hontiveros said the new law addresses the lack of maternity leave days in the country and puts it at par with international standards.

She noted that the law promotes the “best available evidence and practice” consistent with improving the country’s maternity leave policy.

“Now, mothers will have more time to rest from pregnancy. Children will be better fed. Fathers and caregivers can bond and create more lasting memories with their loved ones, as families everywhere receive the greatest gift of all – time,” Hontiveros said.

“I salute the tireless work of our advocates, health service providers and my colleagues in the Senate and the House of Representatives for closing ranks and crossing partylines to see this measure through. But most especially, I laud my fellow women for winning this important battle. They are the true heroes of this struggle. While there will be more battles and challenges in the future, today, women win,” she added.

The law grants 105 days of paid maternity leave for women workers, as well an option to extend the leave to an additional 30 days without pay.

Solo mothers can also avail of an additional 15-day paid leave. (PNA)

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