House urged to pass bill giv­ing women 100-day ma­ter­nity leave

Business Mirror - - 2ND FRONT PAGE - By Jovee Marie N. Dela Cruz

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.

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