Women not legally married can avail of maternity benefits

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Persida Acosta

Persida Acosta

Dear PAO,
My application for paternity leave was denied by my company for the reason that I am not yet legally married to the mother of my child. Does this mean that since we are not yet married, my girlfriend can also not avail of her maternity leave benefits?

Sincerely yours,
Yulo

Dear Yulo,
For your information, Article 14-A of Republic Act (RA) 8282 or the Social Security Law states:

SEC. 14-A. Maternity Leave Benefit. – A covered female employee who has paid at least three monthly maternity contributions in the twelve-month period preceding the semester of her childbirth, abortion or miscarriage and who is currently employed shall be paid a daily maternity benefit equivalent to one hundred percent (100 percent) of her present basic salary, allowances and other benefits or the cash equivalent of such benefits for sixty (60) days subject to the following conditions:


a) That the employee shall have notified her employer of her pregnancy and the probable date of her childbirth which notice shall be transmitted to the SSS [Social Security System] in accordance with the rules and regulations it may provide;

b) That the payment shall be advanced by the employer in two equal installments within thirty (30) days from the filing of the maternity leave application;

c) That in case of caesarian delivery, the employee shall be paid the daily maternity benefit for seventy-eight (78) days;

d) That payment of daily maternity benefits shall be a bar to the recovery of sickness benefits provided by this Act for the same compensable period of sixty (60) days for the same childbirth, abortion or miscarriage;

e) That the maternity benefits provided under this Section shall be paid only for the first four deliveries after March 13, 1973;

f) That the SSS shall immediately reimburse the employer one hundred percent (100 percent) of the amount of maternity benefits advanced to the employee by the employer upon receipt of satisfactory proof of such payment and legality thereof; and,

g) That if an employee should give birth or suffer abortion or miscarriage without the required contributions having been remitted for her by her employer to the SSS, or without the latter having been previously notified by the employer of the time of the pregnancy, the employer shall pay to the SSS damages equivalent to the benefits, which said employee would otherwise have been entitled to, and the SSS shall in turn pay such amount to the employee concerned.

Unlike in RA 8187 or the Paternity Leave Act of 1996, none in the above-stated provision of law does it state that the mother giving birth to a child or the one who suffered a miscarriage is required to be lawfully married first, before she could avail of the maternity benefits. Hence, since there is no restriction or distinction, your girlfriend can rightfully avail of the said benefit provided she qualifies to all the other requirements of the law.

Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.

We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to dearpao@manilatimes.net

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