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Heartbreaking Stories of Moms at Work: 'Madalas Daw Puyat Kapag Mommy'
  • According to a new survey by the Employers Confederation of the Philippines, the recently-signed Republic Act No. 11210 or the Expanded Maternity Leave Law (EML) will affect the decision of Philippine companies to hire women in the workplace. In a report by The Philippine Star, 68% of the 70 respondents said the new law would affect their decision in hiring women.

    Factors that will influence these companies ' decision to employ women include “compromises in the productivity of the company and higher cost implications in terms of benefit and cost of hiring and training a temporary replacement,” according to the report.

    As a response, labor group Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said the survey results suggest that employers will violate the law.

    “We remind employers that under Article 135 of the Labor Code, it shall be unlawful for any employer to discriminate against any woman employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment solely on the condition of her sex,” said TUCP president Raymond Mendoza in a statement.

    Apart from the fact that it violates the law, a woman’s worth in the workplace should not be determined by the numbers of leaves she takes after giving birth. Working moms are multitaskers, and while work-life balance may be a constant struggle, they can certainly excel both in their career and at home.

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    5 times moms were discriminated in the workplace

    Unfortunately, workplace discrimination still exists and happens to moms probably more often than we think. Just ask members of our Facebook group Smart Parenting Village who share their heartbreaking stories.


    You’re hired — but only if you prioritize us

    I was applying for a graphic and visual designer position for this company. [I was doing] well. I aced their pre-exams, and they were happy with my portfolio, too. The first two interviews were both successful but they turned me down in my final interview.

    I remember they told me that they don’t see me working with them during “red calls” or emergency weekends. They also said they need someone who is open to traveling once every two months. Paano raw if mommy ako? They even said na kapag mommy madalas daw puyat and baka may possibility na madalas ako ma-late. Big deal daw sa kanila ‘yung punctuality.

    Since I am also a breastfeeding mom, the interviewer said there will be times na maaapektuhan ang relationship ko with my supposed teammates if my time for them would be for pumping na lang. And expected daw na magmamadali ako umuwi because I have someone waiting home for me. 

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    That moment, na-blanko ako. I didn’t even have a chance na ma-explain ‘yung self ko. Everything the interviewer said was not true and super nakakasama ng loob. They even told me na if kaya kong i-prioritize sila over my family they could hire me. Hello, who would do that? [What made it worse] is the interviewer was a woman na I think dapat mag-support sa kapwa niya babae.

    I’m 24 years old, and I remember her saying, “Sayang ka naman.”

    Kailan pa naging sayang maging mommy?

    But I don’t feel sad that I wasn’t able to be a part of their company and team kasi I don’t think I can work in that kind of environment. — Pia Villafuerte

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    Dads over moms

    I was not chosen to teach in an international school because I told them I have a 2-year-old son. They prefer fathers or single employees.

    Kids not allowed in the office

    I worked in a privately-owned market, and my son would visit me in my work station kasi sobrang lapit ng bahay namin sa work ko. Wala naman akong nakikitang mali dun [because] I did my job accordingly. I could also multitask and even go on graveyard shifts.

    ‘Yung simple palang pag-kiss ko at hug sa anak ko ay issue na sa mga co-workers and boss ko.

    Pinapili ako: pipiliin ko kung magta-trabaho raw baa ko or mag-aalaga ng anak ko. According daw sa “most trusted employee” ng boss ko, parati raw ako nag-aalaga ng bata sa trabaho. I chose to resign, and it was a blessing in disguise. Nakalayo ako sa isang toxic environment plus I get to take care of my son na hindi ko nagawa for four years. — Maria Punzal

    Discriminated before and after pregnancy

    I was looking for jobs while I was pregnant and interviewers told me, “Paano ‘yun. Job offer ka pa naman sana pero mag-leave ka lang agad.” Then, when I started applying when my son was a year and a half old, they couldn’t give me the sales position because they know that my priority is my son, and I might not be able to handle the pressure of the sales position. But I’ve been in the sales industry since the beginning of my career! — Diane dela Rosa

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    Freelance woes

    I do freelance work at home, but I stopped when I got pregnant. When I gave birth, I tried to continue my freelance work since we already employ a nanny in the mornings.

    I applied, got shortlisted and was able to be interviewed (for a full-time position). I was honest and told them that I have a 2-month-old baby and that we have a nanny. Sadly, they didn’t consider me and did not provide a reason why.

    After a month, someone messaged me that they needed someone like me to be a part of their team. I sent my resume along with a cover letter that I have a 3-month-old baby and a nanny. I believe I was qualified for the position, which is why they sent an invite. But the hiring manager replied, “As a family man myself, I know how taxing it can be taking care of a newborn, and I’m not sure that this is a great fit for us at the moment. I wish you the best of luck.”

    After that, I realized that if telling the truth hinders me from getting a job, maybe I needed to focus on my baby at the moment. But luckily, I landed a part-time work-at-home job (I didn’t mention the baby stuff again), and I couldn’t be happier. — Aime Nisay

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    Moms react to being discriminated in the office

    In the same thread, some moms said they found employers who were more understanding of their situation. “I am blessed with a supportive working environment,” mom Careen Sapallo-Espinosa said. “I am able to pump according to my schedule. I can ask [for] leaves in instances when I have no yaya. My co-workers give me tips and pieces of advice about my concerns as a mother.”

    Still, others felt the need to hide their current situation to be hired. “More than 10 final interviews from different companies, and I told them I was a single mom, and [I] never got hired,” shared Leslie Tripoli. “In my last interview, I didn’t mention it, and I got hired. I don’t know if that is coincidence or there’s something about being a single mom. I’ve been a full-time working mom for six years with shifting schedules, daily overtime, and weekend work, but I still get to manage my time with my daughters.”

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    She adds, “Sana people will stop discriminating moms, or even single moms, thinking they cannot perform. We work harder, and we just can’t resign from our work any time whenever we get stressed out because we have a family to feed.”

    For companies who rejected applications because they were mothers, one mom pointed out that it is the company’s loss. “[They] are missing someone who is a multitasker, can work under pressure and is creative. Motherhood gives us so much more on top of our household chores and taking care of our children,” said Abby Lacanaria. “Thank you, next!”

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