On its third and last reading, the Philippine Senate has just approved a new bill pushing to increase the maternity leave for female employees up to 100 days. This bill covers both those working for private and public sectors, regardless of the delivery mode.
Senator Pia Cayetano, sponsor of Senate Bill 2982 and chairperson of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality, said that the change is necessary since the current maternity leave allowed is lower than the required 98-day minimum as prescribed by the International Labor Organization.
By comparison, Senator Cayetano pointed out that Vietnam offers 120 to 180 days of maternity leave while Singapore allows 112 days. Additionally, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Thailand provide a maternity leave of 84 days.
Clearly, the country is lagging behind in terms of this privilege.
As of present time, Philippine law only provides women with 60 days of maternity leave for those working in government offices. Private employees, on the other hand, are only allowed 60 to 78 days.
With the new law called as the Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2015, the senate hopes that mothers will have sufficient time to fully recover from child birth and be able to fully assume their roles as mothers before reporting back to their work. At the same time, the bill gives mothers the opportunity to enjoy adequate financial support while on their maternity leave.
On top of that, the bill also gives employees the option to avail of an additional 30-day leave without pay. The employee, however, has the responsibility to inform the head of agency in writing at least 45 days before the ordinary maternity leave ends.
“Through policies like this, we aim to institutionalize standards that promote the rights of working women and protect them from discrimination based on maternity,” said Senator Cayetano.