By Ben Rosario
The House of Representatives on Tuesday approved on second reading the grant of 100 days paid maternity leave for women workers in both the private and government sector but limited the benefit to four pregnancies.
House Bill No. 4113, which consolidates 15 different measures proposing to increase maternity leave, won strong support in the chamber with principal authors airing optimism of its passage on third reading in two weeks.
Authors included Reps. Bernadette Herrera-Dy (BH Partylist); Alfredo Vargas III (PDP-Laban Quezon City); Winston Castelo (PDP-Laban, Quezon City); Gus Tambunting (PDP-Laban, Paranaque City); Emmeline Aglipay Villar (NP, Las Pinas); France Castro (ACT Teachers Partylist); Emmi de Jesus and Arlene De Jesus, both of Gabriela Partylist).
Herrera-Dy, chairperson of the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality, lauded members of the HOUse panel and women supporters of the measure for pushing for the passage of the measure.
HB 4113 seeks to amend Republic Act 7322, Labor Code of the Philippines; the Social Security Act of 1997 and the Revised Adminsitrative Code of 1987 that grants a 60 day paid maternity leave for pregnant women for normal delivery and 78 days for caesarian delivery.
Vargas, who authored HB 1382 that proposed three months of paid maternity leave, noted that the bill is vital in protecting working mothers and their infants’ right to proper health care.
“Recent studies show that extending paid maternity leave for new mothers reduces infant mortality. The cause is yet to be known but it may be linked to longr periods of breast feeding and better heatlh care,” he said.
Vargas added that longer maternity leave also improves maternal health and lessens the likelihood of miscarriage and pregnanacy complications.
Originally, HB 4113 extend 100 days of paid maternity leave for female workers regardless of the number of deliveries.
However, the women and gender panel, made aware of the misgivings raised on the measure by the private secotr, agreed to limit the maternity benefit for four pregnancies.
Herrera-Dy, who defended the measure on the floor, also accepted Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman’s amendment that seeks to bar employers from discriminating women from being hired.
Aside from the 100 days maternity leave, women workers may extend their leave to another 30 days but without pay.
The bill provides that a female member of the Social Security System who has paid at least three monthly contributions in the 12 months imemediately preceding the semeger of her childbirth or miscarriage will be paid her daily maternity beneift to be computed based on the average monthly salary credit for
Female workers will be entitled to the maternity leave coverage regardless of civil status.
The bill guarantees non-diminution of benefits and security of tenure to all women who demand for maternity benefits provided by the measure.
The Civil Service Commission and th eSocial Security System are directed to conduct a period review of the implementation of the measure and submit a valuation report every four year for SSS and three years for the CSC.