The Akbayan Citizens Action Party together with various labor groups came together for the immediate passage of the Expanded Maternity Leave Bill (EML), during a public briefing held at the Solair Hall of the University of the Philippines on Friday, October 5, 2018.

Members of different labor organizations such as Akbayan Women, Nagkaisa, Sentro, PSLink, Partido Manggagawa, IndustriAll, IndustriAll Phlippines Women’s Committee, Associated Labor Unions, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, Makalaya, Philippine Metalworkers Alliance, Alliance of Filipino Workers, Building and Wood Workers International, Federation of Free Workers, Philippine Independent Public Sector Employees Association, Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Pantawid Pamilya, and Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines were in attendance to discuss the salient points of the EML which was ratified in the Senate last October 4, 2018.

Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros, author and principal sponsor of the EML said the imminent passage of the measure was nothing short of historic for working women. The last time that the number of paid maternity leave days was increased in the country was in 1992 or 26 years ago.

“After 26 long years, mothers and families can now look forward to more time to prepare for the rigors of pregnancy, more time to breastfeed their children, and recover from delivery. The number of maternity leave days in our country is now also at par with those of our ASEAN neighbors. This moment is nothing short of historic,” Hontiveros said.

Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin addressed concerns that business will discriminate in hiring women with the new expanded maternity leave policy.

“There will be a business boom, not baby boom. With better leave benefits, women workers will be more productive because they are happier at work,” Congressman Tom Villarin said.

Once signed into law, the country’s maternity leave policy will be at par with international standards. It also carries modern provisions to adequately respond to the everyday reality confronted by women and their families.

Before the EML, working mothers in the Philippines had 60 days for maternity leave. Under the EML the number of days has been increased to 105, with an additional 15 days for solo parents. Seven days may also be transferred from the mother to her husband, partner, or alternate caregiver. ###