Bicam approves bill granting 105-day paid maternity leave
MANILA, Philippines – A bicameral conference committee composed of lawmakers from the Senate and the House of Representatives approved the bill seeking to grant extended maternity leave to both government and private sector employees on Monday, October 1.
The reconciled version of the bill provides 105 days of maternity leave to all working mothers. Of this number, 7 days are transferable to fathers in what is called a "daddy quota." An additional 15 days are also given to solo working mothers for a total of 120 days of paid maternity leave.
Mothers also have the option to extend leaves for an additional 30 days, though this would be unpaid.
These provisions would apply to all pregnancies.
Under the current law, there is a cap of 4 pregnancies for maternity leaves and women are allowed only 60 days of paid maternity leave.
Lawmakers agreed to the provisions after House Bill (HB) No. 4113 earlier proposed a 100-day paid maternity leave while the Senate version – Senate Bill (SB) No. 1305 – proposed a 120-day paid maternity leave.
Should the bill be enacted, a penalty of at least P20,000 would be imposed on employers who violate the law. This is the highest penalty in SB No. 1305, which proposed a fine of at least P5,000 to P20,000 and imprisonment for at least 6 years and one day to 12 years. Meanwhile, HB No. 4113 did not propose any penalty.
The bill also tasks the Social Security System to cover the cost of additional maternity benefits for female employees in the private sector without increasing workers' contributions.
The Senate and the House now have to ratify the reconciled version of the bill before it can be signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte. (READ: Duterte backs longer maternity leave)
Lawmakers hailed the approval of the bill at the bicameral conference committee level as a victory that would recognize women's rights.
"At a time when women workers are increasingly crushed by the pressure of making ends meet amid rising prices, a longer paid maternity period is one of the few positive things that the government can enact. Pagkilala ito sa produktibong papel ng kababaihan sa ating ekonomiya (This recognizes the productive role of women in our economy)," Gabriela Representative Emmi de Jesus said in a statement.
Akbayan also said: "This paves the way for an historic victory for Filipino women workers as it goes beyond a matter of maternal health or sustaining the country's wealth for generations to come, but most importantly, it upholds the rights of women in the workplace." – with reports from Mara Cepeda and Camille Elemia/Rappler.com