March 6, 2017
SENATE DOUBLING MATERNITY LEAVE, A GREAT GIFT ON WOMEN'S MONTH: PANGILINAN
MANILA - The Senate, voting 22-0, on Monday approved on third reading the Expanded Maternity Leave Act (Senate Bill 1305), granting working mothers 60 more days of maternity leave, or a total of 120 days, regardless of whether the birth is normal or caesarean. Solo parents get 150 days of maternity leave.
"Ang gandang regalo nito para sa International Women's Month. Salamat kay Sen. Risa Hontiveros para sa pagtulak at pag-shepherd sa panukalang ito sa kanyang komite(This is a great gift on International Women's Month. We thank Sen. Risa Hontiveros for pushing and shepherding this measure in her committee)," said Liberal Party president Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan, who was among the first senators to file a similar bill in this 17th Congress.
In his original proposed measure, Pangilinan wanted to increase the maternity leave by 150 percent from 60 days to 150 days.
"Makakapagpahinga at makaka-recover na nang husto ang mga bagong panganak. Masisiguro na ring maaalagaan nang mas mabuti ang mga bagong silang (The new mother would now be able to rest and recover more fully from childbirth. The baby will also be well cared for)," Pangilinan said.
The bill amends Republic Act 1161 or the Social Security Act of 1997, which currently grants a 60-day (for normal childbirth) to 78-day (for caesarean) maternity leave for employees in the private sector. The current law is below the international labor standard on maternal protection that recommends 14 weeks or 98 days of maternity leave.
Under the proposed law, also allowed is an additional maternity leave of 30 days without pay, provided that the employer is informed in writing at least 45 days before the end of her original maternity leave.
Other important provisions of Senate Bill 1305 are:
Various studies show the positive health impacts of paid parental leave on the health of children and mothers.
In the bill he filed last July, Pangilinan cited the Public Health Reports from 2011, which said that an increase in the length of paid maternity leave can reduce infant mortality by as much as 10 percent.
Paid maternity leave also increases the likelihood of infants getting well-baby care visits and vaccinations, and the rate and duration of breastfeeding which is known to be very beneficial to the health of mothers, the report said.
The expanded maternity leave proposal is among the first 10 bills filed by Pangilinan for the 17th Congress. Some of the others are the Sagip Saka bill, the Free Wi-Fi bill, and the measure creating the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources.
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