The passage of Republic Act 11210 or the 105-Day Expanded bMaternity Leave Law will allow women workers in the Philippines to be at par with their counterparts in South East Asia in terms of maternity leave benefits.
At the same time, the measure signed by President Rodrigo Duterte last week would enable the country to meet the standards of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
It should be noted that the ILO recommends 14 weeks, or 98 days, of maternity leave to allow working moms sufficient time to recover from childbirth and take care of their newborn before reporting back for work.
“This law is our government’s best gift to working moms and Filipino families as we approach March, which is International Women’s Month,” said House Deputy Speaker and senatorialcandidate Pia S. Cayetano, one the law’s principal authors and sponsors.
“From the bottom of the list, we now belong among the top countries in ASEAN providing sufficient maternity leave for their women workers,” she noted.
RA 11210 extended the maternity leave from 60 and 78 days (for natural and caesarian childbirth, respectively) to 105 days.
Vietnam currently offers the longest maternity leave in the region at 180 days, while Singapore ranks second with 112 days.
Brunei, Laos, and now, the Philippines, provide 105 days; Myanmar and Thailand 98 days; while Cambodia, Malaysia and Indonesia round up the list with 90 days.
“It takes two houses of Congress (the house and Senate) and the President’s approval to pass a law” Cayetano, the measure’s original proponent in the 16th Congress, stressed.
It will be recalled that Cayetano filed and sponsored the earlier version of the expanded maternity leave bill as the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality in the 16th Congress. The measure was approved by the Senate in 2016.
However, since the House of Representatives did not pass its version at the time, Cayetano had to refile her Senate-approved bill, this time in the House, after she was elected representative of Taguig City in the current 17th Congress.
“I thank and congratulate everyone who was part of the legislative process, including my colleagues in Congress, government agencies, and of course, our President who signed the bill into law after careful deliberation. The most important thing is that our people will benefit – mothers , fathers, [and] the entire family,” Cayetano concluded. #