This article was updated on November 3, 2015, 6:30 pm
Monday brings good news!
A bill which increases maternity leave from 60 days to 100 days regardless of method of delivery (normal or caesarean), with an optional addition of 30 days of leave without pay, has been approved by four senate committees.
The consolidated bill “The Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2015” states that the “State shall institutionalize a mechanism to expand the maternity leave period of working women to provide them with ample transition time to regain health and overall wellness, as well as to assume maternal roles before resuming full-time work,” according to Gmanetwork.com.
According to the bill, pregnant women in the government (regardless of employment status) and private sectors are entitled to 100 days of fully paid leave (computed based on weekly or regular wages) regardless of whether the delivery was normal or caesarean. The current statutory paid maternity leave benefit for those who give birth via caesarean section is 78 days.
The Social Security Act of 1997 was likewise amended so that a privately-employed woman may be paid her daily maternity benefit, provided she had paid at least three monthly contributions in the 12-month period immediately preceding the semester of her childbirth. The daily maternity benefit is computed as her average monthly salary credit for 100 days.
If the cash benefits the private employee received from the SSS does not cover the whole of her average weekly or regular wages, the employer shall be responsible to pay the remaining amount for the entire duration of the 100-day maternity leave, says the bill.
An additional 30 days of unpaid maternity can be availed provided that a written notice is submitted at least 45 days before the end of the maternity leave.
The bill also states that existing maternity benefits provided by the employer shall not be diminished by the act if they're more beneficial to the pregnant employee.
In addition, exercising the maternity leave benefits cannot be used as a basis for demotion or termination of employment. A transfer to a parallel position is allowed provided that it does not reduce the rank, status or salary of the employee.
The bill will undergo a second and third reading by the senators. Once approved, a bicameral meeting with the Senate and House or Representatives will reconcile disagreeing provisions, if any. Afterwards, it will be sent to the President for approval or veto.