By Ben Rosario
Inspired by the passage of the Expanded Maternity Leave Law, former president and Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is leading administraiton and opposition lawmakers in pushing for the passage of a bill that would lift the legal limits for the grant of paternity leave with pay to father’s of newborn babies.
Arroyo has been joined by opposition Reps. Arlene Brosas and Emmi DE Jesus of Gabriela who are also authors of the newly-signed law granting working mothers a 105-day paid leave of absence upon delivery of their baby.
Reps. Alfred Vargas (PDP-Laban, Quezon City); Strike Revilla (Lakas-CMD, Cavite; Pepito Pico (DIWA Partylist); Winston Castelo (Lakas-CMD, Quezon City); Teddy Brawner BAGuilat Jr. (LP, Ifugao) and Johnny Ty-Pimentel batted for the approval of a measure that would amend the Paternity Leave Act of 1996.
Calls for the passage of the amended Paternity Leave Act grew stronger after President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the Extended Maternity Leave Act that extended the leave of absences of mothers who delivered their baby from 60 to 105 days of paid leave.
Arroyo filed House Bill 2956 proposing to delete the provision of Republic Act 8187 or the Paternity leave Act of 1996 that limits paternity leave to fathers for the first four deliveries of their wife.
In her proposal, Arroyo wants paid paternity leave benefits of seven days be extended to a male employee even beyond the four deliveries of his legitimate spouse with whom he is cohabiting with.
Provisions of Arroyo’s bill is also contained in the legislative proposals filed by Revilla and Vargas.
However, in their proposals, Brosas, DE Jesus, Pimentel and Castelo want the paid paternity leave of absence be extended form seven to 15 days.
In HB 5995 which they jointly authored, Brosas and De Jesus said additional days of paid leave of absence will give the father “ample opportunity to give support to his wife or common-law spouse and newborn child for their prompt recovery.”
The Gabriela proposal also provides for the extension of 15 days leave without pay for the father.
“Seven days are not enough for the complete recuperation of the mother and the father should be by her side to see that she regains her strength in weaning the infant,” stressed Castelo in filing HB 4130.
Arroyo said the intent o fRA 81874 is noble but the four-delivery limit contradicts its objective.
“With the passage of this bill, the husband will be in a better position to give support to his wife before, during and after her delivery and give the husband more time to take care of the other children in his wife’s absence,” Arroyo explained.
Under Arroyo’s proposal the paternity leave will apply to all deliveries of the legitimate spouse of the father and will include childbirth or any miscarriage.