Understanding the Extended Maternity Leave of 2017
The extended maternity leave law is making a buzz in every workplace of every industry. As every expecting mother is exhilarated to know about the new law on maternity leave, some married couples share the same sentiment as they are now looking at an option of adding another family member.
As of this writing, the bill has already passed the third reading in the senate. To simplify the next process, the bill will be awaiting two signatories – the house speaker and the senate president. After which, it goes to the President then, it is assigned an RA number. This process will happen really soon. This new law after being signed by the President will take effect in 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette. Considering the current positive atmosphere surrounding the extended maternity leave issue, the President is highly inclined to sign the bill into a law.
Here are some of the salient points of the Extended Maternity Leave
This applies to all female workers in the government and private sectors.
There will be no excuses for employers to comply with this mandate as it is pretty much straight forward. Monetary penalties of up to Php20000 and imprisonment of up to 12 years will be imposed on employers who will violate this new law.
The law covers miscarriage
The leave credits will not only apply to a successful delivery of a child. Under the extended maternity leave law, employers are required to grant pregnant employees maternity leaves during which they are entitled to receive full pay even if their delivery is unsuccessful or results in a medical abortion.
The Number of Leave Days
From the current 60 days for normal delivery and 78 days for a caesarean operation, the number of days will now be for 120 days for both kinds of birth-giving. Under the new law, the 120 days shall be granted with pay and if the mother wishes to extend the leave, she can do so for not more than 30 days – this extension, however, will no longer be paid. It will nevertheless ensure the tenure of the female employee.
The law applies regardless of civil status and legitimacy
It does not require a mother to be married. Moreover, whether a child is a legitimate or illegitimate offspring, the mother must still enjoy this benefit.
Coverage of the Leave
Another provision of this law is the ability of the mother to delegate 30 days of such leave to an alternate caregiver of the child. It can be a spouse, a common-law partner, or relative up to the fourth degree of consanguinity. It can, therefore, be reallocated to your great great grandparents (although unlikely) and up to your first cousin and grandnephew/niece.
If you are planning to adopt a child, the same 30-day reallocated leave can still be enjoyed by the adoptive parents.
There are no further provisions yet as to how many pregnancies this extended maternity leave may apply but it is highly likely that the old law will carry over. Therefore, it is presumed that this new law will only be applicable for the first four deliveries.
The current number of paternity leave is set at 7 days with full pay which can be taken sparingly within a 30-day period after the child’s date of birth. The extended maternity leave law will give the father enough time to relish his newborn as he is now entitled to 30 days of leave with full pay.
Q & A
If a mother is already on maternity leave before the bill became an actual law, is she entitled to the extended maternity leave?
- We need to wait for the final draft of the law. Since this is a law granted as a benefit, it can have a retroactive effect depending on the resolutions stated in its effectivity clause.
How many months of SSS contribution is required to avail of the compensation?
- This has not been shed much light as of yet. It is, however, very likely that the current conditions subsist. As long as the working mother has at least three months of SSS contribution, then HR can process the reimbursement as they would be the ones to initially pay the female employee.
What if the employer terminates the mother upon return to the workforce because she is again pregnant with another child?
- The labor code provides for the protection of the employee and such case is considered discriminatory. It will, therefore, merit another legal issue altogether.
Objective of the Extended Maternity Leave of 2017
More than granting more time for the mother to be with a new-born child to promote a healthier family relationship, the extended maternity leave also aimed at optimizing the mother’s environment for neonatal and maternal health.
Furthermore, this new law will keep the Philippines at par with the International Labor Organization’s set standards on maternity protection. The minimum prescribed international standard for maternity leave is set at 98 days as per the ILO Convention 183.
The stereotype of women being a homemaker is an already outdated notion. Working mothers are prevalent in today’s society. There are those who would really love to add another member to their family but such plan is hampered by the time spent to rear the child. The extended maternity law can uplift the spirit of would-be mothers as they are now given more time to take care of their child.
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