Press Release
February 3, 2019

Malacañang expected to sign bill increasing maternity leave to 105 days

Expectant mothers may soon enjoy longer days to care for their new-born child once a bill seeking to increase the days of maternity leave from 60 days to 105 days will be signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte.

The proposed Expanded Maternity Leave (EML) law was transmitted to Malacañang for signature last January 21.

The bill provides for 105 days of paid maternity leave to all working new mothers both in the government and private sector, regardless of marital status.

The leave benefit shall be granted to all female workers in every instance of pregnancy, miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy, regardless of frequency. In cases of miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy, the expectant mothers shall be granted 60 days of paid leave benefits.

The current law provides for 60 days of paid maternity leave for vaginal delivery and 78 days for women who gave birth through cesarean section. Expectant mothers can claim the leave benefit for only up to four instances of pregnancy or miscarriage. All employed mothers can also avail an additional maternity leave of 30 days without pay, provided that they inform the head of the agency, in writing, 45 days before the end of maternity leave.

Under the proposed legislation employees who are solo parent shall be granted an additional 15 days of paid maternity leave.

The EML also allows seven days from the 105 paid leave credits to be transferred to the new father, regardless of the status.

The current law or the Paternity Leave Act of 1996 only provides seven days of paternity leave. It can be claimed by the new fathers who are married and living with the new mother and new-born child.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, who shephered the passage of the EML in the Senate, said failure to comply with the provisions of the act will be punishable with a fine of not less than P20,000 but not more than P200,000 and imprisonment from six years and 1 day to not more than 12 years or both.

She said the enactment of the bill into law would bring the Philippines closer to compliance with the International Labor Organization's standards on maternity protection, a field where the Philippine law is alarmingly inadequate.

"Our maternity leave law, both for the public and private sectors only provides 60 days paid leave--38 days short, more than five weeks short of the minimum prescribed under the International Labor Organization's Convention 183," Hontiveros said.

The ILO Convention 183 mandates a minimum of 98 days maternity leave. ILO data show that the Philippines is among the few countries whose maternity leave policies remain as one of the shortest among its members.

According to the ILO, Vietnam provides for 120 to 180 days of maternity leave. Singapore provides for 112 days maternity leave while Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand have an 84-day maternity leave period.

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