I started working as a probationary employee in one of the companies here in Cebu. My wife is about to give birth to our second child. Upon inquiry with our HR, I was informed that I can avail of the 7-day paternity leave but without pay because of my employment status. Is this correct? Based on my research, my employment status is not material in order for me to avail of the leave benefits. Please advice.
Private employees are granted numerous benefits under the Labor Code of the Philippines as well as other pertinent labor laws. One of which is paternity leave. It is the seven (7)-day leave with full pay consisting of basic salary.
However, not all employees may avail of such benefit. As provided for under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 8187, otherwise known as the “Paternity Leave Act of 1996,” only married male employees, whether they be in the private and public sectors, shall be entitled to paternity leave, provided that it is the first four (4) deliveries or miscarriages of their respective legitimate spouses with whom they are cohabiting. In addition, the male employees applying for the same must notify their respective employers of the pregnancy of their legitimate spouses and the expected date of such delivery (Section 2, R.A. No. 8187).
In the situation that you have presented before us, it is submitted that your employer should grant you the seven (7)-day leave with full pay if you have met the above-stated qualifications. The fact that your employment status is still probationary should not be a hindrance for you to be granted such benefit because Republic Act No. 8187 does not limit the grant of said benefit only to regular employees. And when the law makes no distinctions, one should not distinguish. Furthermore, Section 1 (b) of the Revised Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 8187 for the Private Sector defines the term “employee” in a general sense. As provided therein, an “employee” is “any person who performs services for another and receives compensation therefor, provided an employer-employee relationship exists between them.”
If you were able to establish that you are entitled to paternity leave benefit but your company still refuses to grant you the same, you may consider filing a complaint against them. The responsible officers of your company, if found to have violated the provisions of Republic Act No. 8187, may be penalized by a fine not exceeding Twenty Five Thousand Pesos (P25,000.00) or imprisonment of not less than thirty (30) days nor more than six (6) months (Section 5, RA No. 8187).
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.