The House of Representatives Committee on Women and Gender Equality has endorsed for plenary approval a bill seeking to increase the maternity leave period to 100 days with pay.
House Bill 4113 or the proposed "100-Day Maternity Leave Law" also proposes an unpaid 30-day extension for female workers both in the government and private sector.
The current allowable maternity leave is 60 to 78 days.
It also grants the same coverage to female workers regardless of civil status, miscarriage, or abortion after termination, female workers in the informal economy, those with pending administrative case and those who are non-members of the Social Security System (SSS).
The proposal also assures security of tenure to female workers and emphasizes that maternity leave shall not be used as basis for demotion in employment or termination.
The bill also allows transfer to a parallel position or reassignment from one organizational unit to another in the same agency without reduction in rank, status or salary.
Another provision states that a female SSS member who has paid at least three monthly contributions in the 12-month period immediately preceding the semester of her childbirth or miscarriage shall be paid her daily maternity benefit which shall be computed based on the average monthly salary credit, for 100 days, regardless if the delivery was normal or caesarian and subject to conditions as provided in the bill.
The measure also specifies that female workers in the private sector availing of the maternity period and benefits must receive not less than two-thirds of their regular monthly wages and that employers shall be responsible for the salary differential between the actual cash benefits received from the SSS and their average weekly or regular wages, for the entire duration of the ordinary maternity leave subject to exceptions such as those operating distressed establishments; retail/service establishments employing not more than 10 workers; those who pay their workers on a purely commission, boundary, or task basis; and those who are paid a fixed amount for performing a specific work.
Also exempted are micro business enterprises; those engaged in the production, processing, or manufacturing or products or commodities including agro-processing, trading, and services whose total assets are not more than P3 million; and those who are already providing similar or more than the benefits as provided in the bill.
The Civil Service Commission (CSC) and the SSS are designated to conduct a review of the maternity leave benefits of women employees in the government service and the private sector, respectively, and include maternity leave benefits in their valuation report conducted every four years for the SSS and every three years for the CSC, or more frequently as may be necessary.
Committee chair and DIWA party-list representative Emmeline Aglipay-Villar said the bill's substitution is a "landmark legislative measure" and has the most progress coming from the 16th Congress.
SOURCE: ABS-CBN NEWS