The law also gives female workers an option to extend their leave for another 30 days without pay.
Ernie Peñaredondo
Law signed expanding maternity leave to 105 days
Christina Mendez, Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star) - February 22, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has signed into law the Expanded Maternity Leave (EML) bill that will grant additional maternity leave benefits to working mothers, from 60 to 105 days, with an option to extend for an additional 30 days without pay once they give birth.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said Duterte signed the EML law on Wednesday, beating the 30-day deadline for the proposed measure to lapse into law.

Under the measure passed by Congress, working mothers in the government and private sector are entitled to 105 days of paid maternity leave credits, with seven days transferable to fathers. An additional 15 days will be granted to single mothers.

The law also gives female workers an option to extend their leave for another 30 days without pay.

Under the previous law, employed mothers are entitled to 60 days of paid leave credits for normal deliveries and 78 days for caesarean deliveries.

Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo expressed belief that the measure would not prompt employers to hire more male workers rather than the female.

“You know, the additional maternity leave number of days as well as the benefits, that will only lessen the profits. The employers have big profits, so its going to be part of their social service,” Panelo said.

The presidential spokesman urged  employers to follow the law to the letter even without the need to incorporate them in their respective corporate rules and regulations or human resources code.

The measure also recognizes women’s maternal function as a social responsibility.

“This will provide them with ample transition time to regain health and overall wellness as well as to assume maternal roles before resuming paid work,” it read.

The EML law also complements sections 17 and 22 of Republic Act 9710, also known as The Magna Carta of Women, which provides for women’s rights to health and decent work.

The law will take effect after 15 days from its publication in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.

Leni, House members react

Vice President Leni Robredo welcomed the passage of the EML law, which she said would benefit ordinary working mothers.

“We have advocated for the extension of maternity leave. It is a problem for a lot of women where to leave their babies because they immediately have to go back to work,” Robredo said.

“The extension of maternity leave will be a big help, especially for those who have no means to hire nannies or helpers,” she added.

Members of the House of Representatives along with the militant women’s group Gabriela commended President Duterte for signing the EMLeave law.

“We should remain steadfast in fighting discrimination against women, especially because the Constitution recognizes the role of women in nation-building and promotes equality for all,” Leyte Rep. Yedda Marie Romualdez, one of the authors of the bill, said. 

Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy of party-list Bagong Henerasyon, who heads the House committee on women and gender equality, said female workers, regardless of their civil status, are covered by the law.

Gabriela welcomed the signing of the law that took more than 10 years since they filed the measure.

“This is a significant move in ensuring women’s right to maternal health and in upholding the security of tenure of pregnant workers,” it said.

House Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano hailed the passage of the law, which gives working mothers more time to recover after giving birth and to take care of their newborn.

“This measure is an acknowledgment of the dual role of women in society: as members of the work force and as mothers,” she said.

Cayetano, principal author of the expanded maternity bill in the House of Representatives, also led the passage of the Senate version of the measure when she chaired the committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality in the 16th Congress. 

The Taguig representative thanked the President for listening to her position on the urgency of enacting the measure for women workers.

Trade groups see healthier and more productive Filipino workers in the future.

“The measure will greatly benefit women working in dangerous workplaces,” the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) said.

TUCP president Raymond Mendoza said short- and medium-term benefits for firms are expected in terms of productivity of experienced women workers.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros yesterday described the signing into law of the EML Act as a massive victory for women and their families.

“This 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.

The senator added that the new law “squarely addresses our lack of maternity leave days, and puts us at par with international standards.”

“The measure also supports the best available evidence and practice that are consistent with improving maternity leave policy,” she added. – With Janvic Mateo, Mayen Jaymalin, Cecille Suerte Felipe

EXPANDED MATERNITY LEAVE SALVADOR MEDIALDEA
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