By Hannah Torregoza
The Senate on Wednesday approved the revised bicameral committee report on the ratified Expanded Maternity Leave Bill.
This was after the bicameral conference committee reconvened to thresh out a provision in the consolidated version of the bill to consider the Department of Finance (DOF) and the Department of Budget and Management’s (DBM) concerns over some provisions of the measure.
Senator Risa Hontiveros earlier said that once the revised bicameral committee report has been approved, they will wait for the House of Representatives to also ratify the revised measure before it will be submitted to President Rodrigo Duterte for his signature.
It was Hontiveros, chair of the Senate committee on women, children, family relations and gender equality, who requested to defer the routing and transmittal of the enrolled copy of the bill to Malacañang.
Hontiveros is the author and principal sponsor of the Expanded Maternity Leave Bill.
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri had said the DOF and the DBM opposed the additional appropriations and tax exemptions inserted in the measure.
Hontiveros, reporting before the plenary, said the bicam panel has agreed to heed the state economic managers’ advise.
“Upon consideration of the bicameral report, the bicameral conference committee agreed to delete the provision exempting the maternity leave benefit from income tax, Section 6, and the appropriations provision, Section 20. All other provisions are maintained,” Hontiveros said.
“Bitbit ang tinig ng milyon-milyong manggagawang kababaihan , Mr. President, umaasa ang inyong linkgod, sa tuluyang pagsasabatas, ng mahalagang panunakalang ito (Echoign the voices of the millions of women workers, Mr. President, we hope that this important measure would soon be signed into law),” she stressed.
Once President Duterte signs the measure into law, pregnant workers would be able to enjoy up to 105 days of paid leave, seven of which would be added to their husband’s paternity leave. Solo mothers, on the other hand, are given an additional 15 days maternity leave. [Hannah L. Torregoza]