Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat Jr. of Ifugao on Monday filed a bill seeking an extension of maternity leave to 150 days from the current 78 days afforded to all female employees in the government and private sectors.
It also pushes for the inclusion of single mothers, as well as unmarried and adoptive mothers.
Citing public health reports, Baguilat said an extension of paid maternity leave can reduce infant mortality by as much as 10 percent.
“Paid maternity leave also increases the likelihood of infants getting well-baby care visits and vaccinations, and the rate and duration of breastfeeding, which is known to be very beneficial to the health of mothers and infants,” he added.
“These benefits should be extended to all mothers, regardless of their circumstance,” the lawmaker said.
“We have to do what we can do to ensure the health of mothers and infants and promote child-rearing, given that the family is the basic unit of our society. To strengthen the family is to ultimately strengthen our country,” he added.
The current maternity leave in the Philippines is below international labor standards for maternal labor protection, which recommends a minimum of 14 weeks or 98-day maternity leave.
Apart from maternity leave, Baguilat also pushed for a bill that aims to extend paternity leave to 15 days from the original seven days.
“So that fathers can more fully enjoy being new fathers and provide more support to their wife or partner,” he said in filing the bill.
“This is part of providing the best possible care by both parents to their baby. Extending the paternity leave will also allow for the maximum recovery of the mother after birth and for the father to be able to maximize the joys of fatherhood and fulfill their role as partner of the mother,” Baguilat added.