Labor groups back passage of 100-day maternity leave bill
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - February 9, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Various labor groups welcomed the passage of the bill that pushes for a 100-day maternity leave in the public and private sectors.

"We welcome this long overdue proposal. At least the mother could nurture well their newborn child for the first three months or so and this will give the expectant mother a well prepared delivery," said Art Barrit, spokesperson of the Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines.

Barrit cited the country registering high maternal deaths despite its support to the Millennium Development Goals, which expired in 2015, and now Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Jose Tomongha, chairman of the Alliance of Progressive Labor, also welcomed the proposed measure, saying this would certainly give ample time for mothers to take care of their newborn.

"We also proposed that this law should not be used as an excuse to discriminate women in the workplace," said Tomongha, who is also the spokesperson of Sentro Labor Center.

In a separate press statement, Las Piñas Representative Mark Villar likewise welcomed the passage of the bill that he co-authored.

“Philippine laws, which grant only 60 days, and in some cases 78 days of maternity leave, clearly fall short compared to the international standard of 14 weeks,” he said.

House Bill No. 6399, otherwise known as the “One Hundred-Day Maternity Leave Law,” allows the female employees to avail of an additional 30-day maternity leave without pay. 

This House bill was approved recently on its second reading while the Senate version was approved on its third and final reading last month.

Under the House bill, a female employee in the private sector, who has paid at least three monthly contributions in the 12-month period immediately preceding the semester of her childbirth or miscarriage, will also be granted a daily maternity benefit.

“By institutionalizing reforms in the system, we hope to find a more sustainable approach so that mothers would not have to choose between family and work,” said Villar.

Previously, Villar, who chairs the committee on Trade and Industry, also filed a bill to correct the present legislation which limited maternity leave benefits to married government employees.

“Marriage should not be used to discriminate. Single mothers working in the government should not be treated as second-class citizens,” he said.

Commonwealth Act No. 647 limits the grant of maternity leave to married women. Until now, this is still being applied by the government in implementing Section 12, Rule XVI of the Omnibus Rules implementing Book V of Executive Order No. 292 (Administrative Code of 1987) and Other Pertinent Civil Service Laws. — (FREEMAN)

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