A lawmaker is calling for passage into law of a measure that would mandate an increase in maternity leave with pay to workers in both the public and private sectors.
The bill co-authored by Rep. Mark Villar of Las Piñas City (Metro Manila), which aims to extend paid maternity leave benefits of employees in the government service and the private sector from 60 days to 100 days, recently hurdled the committee level at the House of Representatives.
“Philippine laws, which grant only 60 days, and in some cases 78 days of maternity leave, clearly fall short compared to the international standard of 14 weeks,” Villar said in pushing for measure that was passed by the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality.
If passed into law, House Bill 6399 or the 100-Day Maternity Leave Law, would allow employees to avail themselves of an additional 30-day maternity leave.
It would also provide daily maternity benefit to employees in the private sector who have paid at least three monthly contributions in the 12-month period immediately preceding the semester of childbirth or miscarriage.
“By institutionalizing reforms in the system, we hope to find a more sustainable approach so that mothers would not have to choose between family and work,” Villar said.
Recently, the Senate approved a bill granting 100-day paid maternity leave and amending existing laws that provide a 60-day maternity leave to government employees and a 60- and 78-day maternity leave to those in the private sector who gave birth through normal delivery and by caesarian section, respectively.
Villar also has a proposal to amend Commonwealth Act 647 that limits maternity leave benefits to government employees who are married.
“Marriage should not be used to discriminate. Single mothers working in the government should not be treated as second-class citizens,” he said.
“We need to level the playing field. The law should not distinguish between married and unmarried mothers,” Villar added.
The government is still using Commonwealth Act 647 in implementing the Administrative Code of 1987 and other pertinent civil service laws.
“The government must recognize the unique role of women in the development of our country as a rising economy,” Villar said.