We all celebrate workers and their contributions on the first of May, and rightly so. They are, after all, the legs that our nation stands on.
And yet, there is one form of labor that often goes unrecognized and uncompensated: being a mother.
Okay, before you hit me with the old “but motherhood is its own reward” shtick, consider it from a labor perspective. Conceiving and bearing a child for nine months imposes irrevocable changes on your body, for one. In addition to that, childbirth is simply prolonged agony.
Oh, and then there’s actually having to bring up the baby to adulthood afterwards. Mind you, all that effort is just for one child. Filipino families have three, on average.
Thus, it’s only fitting that officials signed the implementing rules and regulations (IRR’s) for the expanded maternity leave law on Labor Day this year.
A Refresher on the Expanded Maternity Leave Law
Last September, the Philippine House of Representatives unanimously approved House Bill No. 4113. Also known as the 100-Day Maternity Leave Law, it added 40 days to the existing 60-day maternity leave for female workers.
Unsurprisingly, the bill met with widespread approval. Labor party lists considered HB 4113’s unchallenged progress a tremendous victory for female workers. Furthermore, women’s rights activists hailed it as recognition of women’s contributions to society, both as workers and mothers.
However, a bicameral committee still had to reconcile the differences between HB 4113 and SB 1305, its counterpart in the Senate. A key discrepancy, for instance, is the number of days for the paid maternity AND paternity leaves.
What to Expect From the IRR’s
The IRR signing paves the way for the Expanded Maternity Leave Law’s full implementation. Its finalized measures include the following:
- 105 days of paid maternal leave credits, 7 of which are transferable to fathers;
- Additional 15 days of paid maternal leave for single mothers;
- The option to extend maternity leaves for up to 30 days without pay (provided that the employee gives due notice to her employer at least 45 days prior);
- 60-day paid maternity leave for every miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy;
- Removal of 4-pregnancy cap on benefits.
As per, the law applies to every instance of pregnancy and to all female workers, regardless of civil status. The new provisions also don’t discriminate based on the beneficiary’s chosen method of delivery.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros, the law’s principal author and sponsor in the Senate, issued a joyful statement once the IRR’s were signed. “I welcome this development as this ensures the full implementation of the law and that all women will benefit from the measure.”
Let us hope that all governing bodies will thus honor all working mothers by properly implementing the new regulations.