"The House Committee on Women and Gender Equality gave the go signal for a bill expanding maternity leave to 100 days," reports CNN Philippines.
Currently, the law grants only a 60-day maternity leave for women who give birth via normal delivery, and a 78-day maternity leave for those who give birth via C-section. The current policy is less than the minimum 98-day leave required by the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Democratic Independent Workers' Association (DIWA) party-list Rep. Emmeline Aglipay-Villar pointed out that "the issue is not only about workers' rights, but also nutrition."
"Most of the time, women stop breastfeeding due to the problem of having to return to work," she told The Source host Pinky Webb. "The reason why our malnutrition rate is very high in the Philippines is because a lot of babies do not meet that requirement of being breastfed for two months," she said.
The bill, which passed initial readings at the Congress and Senate, wants government workers to be given a fully-paid maternity leave while those in the private sector must be given an average of their monthly salary credit.
The report noted: "The bill also allows for 30-day unpaid extensions. The bill applies to contractual workers, following rules from Social Security System (SSS) and Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), and adoptive parents, as per the Domestic Adoption Act."
It's worth noting, though, that a similar bill seeking 150 days for maternity leave is in the pipeline at the Senate. A Rappler report noted that the said bill was filed by Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan in July.