The good news about the Senate’s approval of the Expanded Maternity Leave Act of 2017 (or Senate Bill 1305) created a buzz in workplaces around the country. The update fueled parents’ and would-be parents’ hopes of longer months away from the office to spend with their baby and recuperate from the stresses of childbirth.
What is probably not clear with some readers is the fact that the bill is yet to be approved by the President and therefore, is not yet enforced. We have been receiving numerous questions through this blog as to why they (expectant mothers) are not yet granted the supposedly mandatory 120 days of maternity leave. When they ask their employers, they are simply told “wala pang guidelines para diyan”. This answer proved to be too vague for excited pregnant women looking forward to being given longer leave days from work.
Below is a summary of the succeeding procedures that the bill will go through before it is declared a “law”:
- Below is a summary of the succeeding procedures that the bill will go through before it is declared a “law”:
- After both have signed, the President will then assign the bill with an RA number (Republic Act).
- The law will take effect in 15 days after it is publicized in the Official Gazette.
While we eagerly anticipate the President’s endorsement, let us take this time to fully understand the salient points of the Extended Maternity Leave. Read on!
Who are covered by the Extended Maternity Leave?
a. This applies to all female workers in the government and private sectors.
b. While married mothers shall be granted 120 days maternity leave with pay and an option to extend it for another 30 days without pay, single mothers shall be granted a total of 150 days maternity leave with pay. The number of days covers both types of birth-giving methods: caesarean operation or normal delivery.
c. Fathers shall be granted 30 days of paternity leave.
d. Of the 120 days maternity leave, 30 may be transferred to other caregivers such as: the spouse, common-law partner, and relatives up to the fourth degree of consanguinity.
Does this include miscarriages?
Yes; the female employee must be granted the same leave benefit even if they were not able to carry the child to full term or if the pregnancy resulted in a medical abortion.
Apart from granting the mandatory maternity leave to the employee, what are the other obligations of employers under this law?
a. The employer shall give in advance the employee’s full payment of the leave no later than 30 days from the filing of the maternity leave application.
b. Female employees who file for the maternity leave is entitled to not less than 2/3 of their regular monthly wages.
c. Female employees must be able to enjoy these leave benefits without prejudice to their security of tenure and cannot be used as basis for demotion or termination from employment.
What happens if the employer refuses to grant the mandatory maternity leaves?
The bill offers no excuses for erring employers. A penalty of PHP 20,000.00 and imprisonment of up to 12 years awaits any employer proven to have violated the new law.
Good news indeed, eh? Stay tuned for further announcements regarding the Extended Maternity Leave Act.