A measure to expand paid maternity leave for working women in the country to 100 days was approved on second reading by the House of Representatives on Tuesday. House Bill No. 4113, sponsored by Bagong Henerasyon Partylist Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy and co-authored by Akbayan Partylist Rep. Tom Villarin, seeks to add 40 days to the current 60 days of paid maternity leave for female workers in the government and the private sector.
Work4EML, convened by workers and women from Partido ng Manggagawa, NAGKAISA, Akbayan Women, IndustriALL, Public Services Labor Independent Confederation (PSLINK) Philippines, Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) Philippines and Associated Labor Unions (ALU), Manggagawang Kababaihan Mithi ay Paglaya (MAKALAYA), welcomed the progress as a positive development in ensuring the welfare of women workers in the country.
Judy Miranda of Partido ng Manggagawa said that the bill takes into consideration the health of women working in the public and private sector.
“Women who just gave birth need time to heal and to take care of their newborn”, she cited. “This measure, once passed into law, will provide full recovery from childbirth for working women and improve overall health of Filipino families”, Miranda added.
Reyanne Librado of Akbayan Women said that the passage of HB 4113 will place the country at par with its Southeast Asian neighbors.
“Sa buong Southeast Asia, tayo ang pinaka-kulelat sa maternity leave policy”, Librado cited. The country currently has the shortest paid maternity leave policy in the region, ranking below Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand that have 90 days each.
“Kapag naisabatas ito, magiging mas aangkop tayo sa international standard na at least 98 days ng International Labor Organization at World Health Organization ng maternity leave policy kumpara sa ibang bansa”, she added.
"The passage of a just maternity leave law to women workers is a long overdue. The Philippines is lauded to have a enabling legal environment for women. An Expanded Maternity Leave law signals the creation of further maternity protection to Pinay moms.", said Eva Arcos of IndustriALL Philippines.
The Senate’s counterpart bill, sponsored by Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros, has been approved last March 2017. After three session days, the bill will be approved on third and final reading at the House of Representatives and will move to a bicameral conference committee to consolidate both versions for approval into law. ###