On its third and final reading, the Senate has finally approved the bill that would increase the maternity leave period of a female worker to 120 days of four months.
Twenty-two senators voted positively for Senate Bill No. 1305 also known as the “Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2017.”
Under the bill, all female workers should be granted 120 days maternity leave with pay and an option to extend for another 30 days without pay. Meanwhile, solo parents would be granted a total of 150 days maternity leave.
The extra 30 days of the proposed 120-day maternity leave is also transferable to alternate caregivers such as the spouse, common-law partner, and relative up to the fourth degree of consanguinity including adoptive parents.
Under the measure, fathers may also enjoy a 30-day leave, compared to the seven days paid leave they are currently provided according to Republic Act 7322.
According to Senate President Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel, the bill was part of the Senate’s efforts to protect and promote the welfare of pregnant women.
Senator Risa Hontiveros said violators of the proposed law would be penalized with a fine not less than Php5, 000 but not more than Php20, 000 and imprisonment for not less than six years and one day but not more than 12 years or both.
“By granting more time for a mother to be with her new-born child, we provide the optimal environment for neonatal and maternal health,” said Hontiveros.
The bill would also bring the country closer to compliance with the International Labor Organization’s standards on maternity protection, added Hontiveros.
The ILO Convention 183 mandates a minimum of 98 days maternity leave compared to the present 60-day maternity leave in the Philippines.
The Senate approved the proposals in the third and final reading of the bill, contrary to the House of Representatives, which approved legislation to extend maternity leave to 100 days. There will now be a bicameral debate to produce a common bill on the issue.
Although the said bill is still some process away from being a law, it is already receiving a positive response from female members of the work force. Stay updated on the “Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2017” by following our Official Facebook Page.