WORKING mothers are not the only ones who stand to benefit from a Senate-approved bill expanding maternity leave to 120 days because the proposed law also allows entitled beneficiaries to pass on their leave credits to fathers.
Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said the bill provides that entitled mothers should allocate up to 30 days of their leave credits to the father of the child, regardless if they are married or not.
The Senate on Monday approved on third and final reading Senate Bill (SB) 1305 or the Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2017 that seeks to grant an additional 60 days of maternity leave to expectant mothers, expanding their leave credits to 120 days.
Section 6 of SB 1305 states, “Any female worker entitled to maternity leave benefits as provided for herein may, at her option, allocate up to 30 days of said benefits to the child’s father, whether or not the same is married to the female worker.”
Recto said giving fathers more time to take care of their wives and children would benefit not only the family but humanity as a whole.
He cited studies on how longer maternity leaves result in better school test scores for the child and cuts maternal deaths by 13 percent.
Sen. Nancy Binay, meanwhile, said aside from the child’s father, qualified mothers may also allocate leave credits to an alternate caregiver who may be a relative within the fourth degree of consanguinity or the current partner of the female worker sharing the same household in the absence, death or incapacitation of the father.
Binay noted that many working mothers choose to work until the last three or two weeks before giving birth just to maximize their leave benefits and even then, they still do not have enough time to take care and fully bond with their newborn.
Immediate enactment of SB 1305, she said, would effectively address the predicament faced by working mothers.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros, author of the bill, said that while passage of the proposed measure in the Senate is very good development, the fight is far from over as the counterpart bill in the House of Representatives is yet to be passed.
Hontiveros appealed to the leadership of the House of Representatives to include the Expanded Maternity Leave House on its list of its priority bills.
“What the people need are policies that will radically improve their quality of life, not laws that will bring death. What the people demand are adequate protections and safeguards that will lead to welfare-enhancing outcomes at par with international standards,” she said. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA