Bello hopeful PRRD will sign expanded maternity leave bill

MANILA -- Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III is confident that President Rodrigo Duterte will sign into law a proposed measure that will extend the maternity leave for female workers in the country.

Bello noted that the bill is a priority legislation for the DOLE.

We strongly support its passage into law to provide the working women with ample maternal care and ensure their safety and health. We have actively pushed the passage of this bill, he said in a statement Saturday.

Bello added that concerned government agencies, including the tripartite council have reviewed the bill.

We exerted efforts on this and I have high hopes it is signed by the President very soon, the labor chief said.

He emphasized that the proposed legislation is consistent with local and international instruments that promote the rights of women.

Female workers who avail of the benefits of the expanded maternity benefits shall likewise be assured of the security of tenure, he added.

The bill aims to grant additional maternity leave benefits to all female workers regardless of civil status or the legitimacy of her child.

From the current 60 days, working women shall enjoy 105 days of maternity leave with full pay and an option to be extended for an additional 30 days without pay.

Female workers qualified solo parents, meanwhile, shall be granted an additional 15-day maternity leave with full pay.

In the government sector, the proposed law is applicable to all female workers regardless of employment status while in the private sector, a female Social Security System (SSS) member who has paid at least three monthly contributions in the 12-month period immediately preceding the semester of her childbirth, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy shall be paid her daily maternity benefit, which shall be computed based on her average monthly salary credit for 105 days.

Likewise, women workers in the informal economy are entitled to maternity leave benefits if they have remitted to the SSS at least three-month contributions in the 12-month period immediately preceding the semester of her childbirth, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy.

Female national athletes are also covered by the proposed law upon evaluation of a physician from the Philippine Sports Commission.

She shall continue receiving her allowance and be entitled to the same maternity benefits.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) Maternity Protection Convention of 2000 sets the maternity leave to 14 weeks, including a period of six weeks compulsory leave after childbirth.

Aside from Malaysia, the Philippines is one of the ASEAN countries that have the shortest maternity leave duration. (PNA)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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