The Philippine Senate approved, on its third and final reading, the bill the extending the maternity leave for all new mothers from a minimum 60 days to 100 days.
Senate Bill No. 2982, or The Expanded Maternity Leave of 2015, was unanimously approved yesterday, January 18, with a 19-0 vote. When signed into law, it will give new mothers a 100-day maternity leave with full pay based on her average weekly or regular salary, regardless if she had a normal delivery or C-section.
The proposed law also allows employees to avail of an additional 30 days of maternity leave without pay. The new mom would only need to formally notify her employer in advance, via a letter, 45 days before her 100-day maternity leave ends.
Aside from the needed and well-deserved time-off from work to attend and care for a new baby, Senate Bill No. 2982 also guarantees working mothers financial support after having a baby, as well as a job to return to after her maternity leave. The bill stresses that the new-mom's tenure should not be affected by her maternity leave.
According to the bill, a woman working in the private sector would need to have paid at least three months' worth of contributions to the Social Security System (SSS) 12 months prior to the semester of when she'll give birth. Her daily maternity benefit will computed based on her average monthly salary for the entire duration of the 100-day maternity leave.
The proposed measure also states that the new mom working in the private sector must not receive less than two-thirds of their regular monthly wages. So, if the SSS cash benefit does not cover her average weekly or monthly wages, her employer shall pay the differential amount.
The only ones exempted from giving cash benefits are companies operating in distressed establishments and in retail/service with not more than 10 employees in their payroll. Employers who pay by commission, by boundary or on a per task basis and those engaged in production, processing, trading, and services whose total assets does not exceed P3 million are also exempted.
Senator Pia Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality, said that the bill "aims to provide mothers with ample transition time to regain health and overall wellness, as well as to assume their maternal roles before resuming full-time work."
"Through policies like this, we aim to institutionalize standards that promote the rights of working women and protect them from discrimination based on maternity," Cayetano added.
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Currently, the law grants only a 60-day maternity leave for women who give birth via normal delivery and 78-day maternity leave for new mothers who gave birth via C-section. Cayetano pointed out that the current policy is less than minimum 98-day leave required by the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Sources: January 19, 2016. Senate okays bill increasing maternity leave to 100 days (interaksyon.com) January 18, 2016. “100-day maternity leave gets Senate OK” (gmanetwork.com) January 18, 2016. “Senate approves bill for 100-day maternity leave” (rappler.com)