House urged to pass bill giving women 100-day maternity leave
LADY lawmakers have asked the leadership of the House of Representatives to consider the passage of a measure giving women 100 days maternity leave with pay when session resumes on May 23.
Party-list Rep. Emmi A. de Jesus of Gabriela, one of the authors of House Bill 6399, said the measure seeks to address the plight of working women in the country.
Committee on Women and Gender Equality Chairman and Liberal Party Rep. Linabelle Ruth R. Vil- larica of Bulacan, who endorsed the bill for plenary approval last month, said the measure seeks to expand Republic Act 8282, or An Act Further Strengthening the Social Security System (SSS).
Party-list Rep. Luzviminda C. Ilagan of Gabriela, another author of the bill, said “maternity is one vital social function played by women.”
“The bill seeks to ensure maternity protection is not only a payback to women but also enhances gender equality as mandated in the Constitution and the Magna Carta of Women,” she said.
For her part, Lakas Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla of Cavite, also an author of the bill, said the Constitu- tion recognizes the role of women in nation-building.
“It now becomes imperative that under whatever circumstances a pregnant woman is in, the State shall promote and protect her right,” she said.
Mercado-Revilla said providing additional maternity leave for working mothers in the government and in the private sector would provide them sufficient time to take care of their newborn babies, bond with them and regain their full health.
Under the bill, beneficiaries would get full pay based on their average weekly or regular wages, whether child delivery is through normal or caesarian. Women can also avail themselves of additional maternity leave of 30 days without pay.
The measure also provides that employees in the private sector who will avail themselves of the maternity leave period and benefits would receive not less than two-thirds of their regular monthly wages.
The employers will be responsible for the salary differential between the actual cash benefits received from the SSS and their average or regular wages, for the entire duration of the ordinary maternity leave, the bill added.
Authors said the bill assures security of tenure to the female employee, and its availment should not be used as basis for demotion in employment or termination and transfer to a parallel position or reassignment from one organizational unit to another in the same agency.
It tasks the Government Service Insurance System and the SSS to immediately conduct a review of the maternity leave benefits of woman- employees in the government service and the private sector.
The Philippines has one of the highest fertility rates in Southeast Asia, based on a report from the World Bank. The country recorded three births per woman in 2013.
According to the projection made by the Philippine Statistics Authority, total fertility rate ( TFR) in 2015 to 2020 will go down slightly to 2.76, from 3.41 recorded from 2000 to 2005. The World Bank defined total fertility rate as the number of children that would be born to a woman if she were to live to the end of her childbearing years.
TFR in the Philippines is expected to go down drastically in 2040, when it is expected to settle at 2.07.