Good news for soon-to-be mom­mies!

Sun.Star Pampanga - - TOPSTORIES! -

Only moth­ers like me can tell how much the pas­sage of the Ex­panded Ma­ter­nity Leave Act can do so much for us and our ba­bies af­ter the pe­riod of giv­ing birth. While I may not en­joy this ben­e­fit at the mo­ment, it is some­thing that mom­mies should re­ally be thank­ful for. Truly a “vic­tory for women and fam­i­lies” as claimed by var­i­ous women’s rights ad­vo­cates and work­ers’groups.

The new law signed by Pres­i­dent Duterte on Fe­bru­ary 20, al­lows work­ing moth­ers in pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tors 105 days of paid leave from the pre­vi­ous ben­e­fit of 60 days. Not only that, 7 days of these paid leave cred­its may be trans­ferrable to fa­thers, who may now en­joy up to four­teen days of pa­ter­nity leave.

Re­mark­ably, the law now ap­plies to ev­ery in­stance of preg­nancy, re­mov­ing the 4-preg­nancy cap. It shall be ap­plied to all fe­male work­ers re­gard­less of civil sta­tus. A spe­cial ben­e­fit is also given to sin­gle moth­ers, who will be given an ad­di­tional 15 days of ma­ter­nity leave. These new salient points of the law breaks bar­ri­ers and re­moves all sorts of dis­crim­i­na­tion against sin­gle moth­ers and un­wed women giv­ing birth.

I re­mem­ber the two in­stances when I gave birth to my kids, and the time I spent with them while I was on leave. I can say I’m still lucky hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced nor­mal de­liv­er­ies which made me re­cover faster and at­tend to my kids the soon­est time pos­si­ble. I can com­pare the pain and re­cov­ery of those who gave birth via cae­sar­ian sec­tion, who usu­ally need 2-3 months of re­cov­ery from their wounds.

The short time given to us moth­ers af­ter giv­ing birth of 60 days prior to the sign­ing of the Ex­panded Ma­ter­nity Leave Act is in­deed pre­cious and worth ev­ery sec­ond. Not only can we pro­vide our baby with the much needed care and nourishment, but it is also the time for us women to give time for our­selves to re­cover phys­i­cally, emo­tion­ally, men­tally, and even fi­nan­cially. Now, we can have more time to bond with our baby and pre­pare for the ac­tiv­i­ties that come with hav­ing a new mem­ber of the fam­ily.

At the same time, our hus­bands, who are ex­pected to sup­port and help me all through­out our jour­ney from giv­ing birth to hav­ing a new per­son to look af­ter, can also get to en­joy ad­di­tional days of spend­ing time with the fam­ily. At most in­stances, dad­dies are tasked to run some er­rands in the gro­cery, fix some fur­ni­ture for the baby, and most im­por­tantly, just be there for his wife and kid.

Around the world, the Philip­pines does not even fare enough with the new pro­vi­sion of 105-day ma­ter­nity leave. Most coun­tries in Europe of­fer more weeks of paid leave to new moth­ers such as Bul­garia giv­ing 58.6 weeks of ma­ter­nity ben­e­fit, this be­ing the long­est paid ma­ter­nity leave across the globe. In the United King­dom, moth­ers can be off for a whole year af­ter giv­ing birth but only the first 39 weeks are paid.

In South­east Asia, the Philip­pines still be­long to the group of coun­tries that “per­form poorly” with less than 12 weeks of paid ma­ter­nity ben­e­fit. Viet­nam and Mon­go­lia are the top coun­tries giv­ing more than 17 weeks off to women who gave birth.

While the Im­ple­ment­ing Rules and Reg­u­la­tions are not yet avail­able, this big de­vel­op­ment will cer­tainly mark a his­toric mile­stone that will surely ben­e­fit the Filipino moth­ers, and most es­pe­cially the Filipino fam­i­lies.

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