Hontiveros pushes Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2016

MANILA, Philippines - Good news for women workers.

Senator Risa Hontiveros filed Senate Bill for longer maternity leave.
Senator Risa Hontiveros filed Senate Bill for longer maternity leave.

A bill was filed at the Senate pushing longer maternity leave and the expansion of the maternity benefit's coverage.

Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros filed Senate Bill No. 215 otherwise known as the "Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2016" to bring the country's maternity leave law at par with international standards and make it more responsive to the everyday realities of working women.

Hontiveros said her bill seeks to provide women workers in the public and private sectors, married or not, 120 days of maternity leave, and an additional 30 days for solo mothers.

The Senator explained that the additional 30 days can be allocated by entitled women workers to alternate caregivers such as their spouses, common law partners, or relatives up to the 4th degree of consanguinity. It can also be extended to adopters or any person who has adopted a minor.

"The government must carry a new and progressive perspective on how it responds to women workers' pre and post-natal health care needs. It must radically reform the traditional maternity law and update it according to international standards," Hontiveros said.

"The country's maternity law must have a strong emphasis on reproductive work, which has historically been the onus of women, and has largely been left with minImum respect and recognition in Philippine society," Hontiveros added.

The Philippines' maternity leave law falls short of the standard set by the International Labor Organization (ILO) that mandates a minimum 98 days of maternity leave. Currently, women workers may take a maternity leave of 60 days pay. For women who undergo caesarian deliveries, they are entitled to take a leave of 78 days with pay.

The country is also lagging behind its ASEAN neighbors; Vietnam provides its women workers 120 to 180 days of maternity leave credits, Singapore, 112 days, and 84 days for Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand.

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