Congress started deliberations on the disagreeing provisions of the proposed expansion of maternity leave benefits.
The bicameral conference committee agrees on 105 days of maternity leave, with an additional 30 days of unpaid leave. Solo parents are entitled to an additional 15 days of leave.
It is a recognition of the role played by mothers in society, their work time, and providing enough time to care for their children.
The 105 days of maternity leave is a big step in giving particular attention to motherhood premiums.
As parents and as a country that cares for its citizens, do not take for granted the contribution of women. Let us start creating a work environment where women are not discriminated against for wanting to be parents. (Sen. Binay)
Senator Nancy Binay expressed hope that the expanded maternity leave bill would be signed into law this October as an early Christmas gift to working mothers.
According to Binay, mothers working in the public and private sectors can avail themselves of 105 days of paid maternity leave under the proposed law. The cap of four (4) pregnancies is also removed by the measure, as all pregnancies will be covered.
Binay said that companies and other institutions should not perceive the proposed law as a bane to productivity that would lead to more discrimination in the workplace.
In the Philippines, women have reached a high level of labor force participation but working mothers silently receive motherhood penalties and are passed over for promotions and other career advancements because of motherhood duties.
“It pains me to see a mother cutting short the time to bond with her child and go back to work, especially during the crucial period of the infant’s development. The State has a responsibility to provide a positive complement for women in the labor sector, and be mindful of their indispensable roles in society,” Binay said.
Under existing laws, 60 days of maternity leave is granted for normal deliveries, while 90 days is given for cesarean births.
The 60-day provision does not necessarily allow sufficient time for a mother to truly bond and nurture her child after giving birth.
The bicameral version of the expanded maternity leave grants single mothers another 15 days of leave, while those who have miscarried will be granted 60 days of leave.
An option for additional 30 days of unpaid leave is also provided under the bill.
Binay added that the passage of the law would guarantee the country’s adherence to the International Labor Organization (ILO) standard of 98 days of maternity leaves.
“Some countries in Europe have recognized that mother and child bonding deserve a longer time, and allowed a year with pay for them. We will be at par with the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) standard of 98 days or the ASEAN coverage of 93 days,” Binay said.
Binay said that with the proposed law, the mother and child can have a longer rate of mother-and-child bonding, which have long-term effects on the child’s development and health. (Senator Binay).
What is the Expanded Maternity Leave under RA 11210?
The 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law (RA 11210 or EML) provides the updated policy on maternity leave that cover females who are workers in the private and public sectors, workers in the informal economy, voluntary contributors to the Social Security System (SSS), and national athletes. It likewise grants a woman the option to allocate up to seven days of paid maternity leave to her child’s father or an alternate caregiver.
When did the law take effect and who can benefit from this law?
The law took effect on March 11, 2019. Therefore, those who gave birth or had miscarriages or emergency termination of pregnancy on March 11, 2019, onwards are already covered by RA 11212.
What are the changes in the maternity leave period?
The EML increased the paid maternity leave period to 105 days in case of livebirth, with an option to extend it for 30 more days, but without pay. The law also grants additional 15 days of paid maternity leave for those who qualify as solo parents under RA 8972. These shall apply regardless of the mode of delivery
In cases of miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy, which includes stillbirth, the paid maternity leave shall be 60 days.
Is maternity leave applicable only to married women?
No, maternity leave can be availed of regardless of the civil status of the woman who gave birth or suffered a miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy.
What if a woman has consecutive pregnancies or multiple childbirth?
A woman may apply for maternity leave in every instance of pregnancy, regardless of frequency.
In case of overlapping maternity benefit claims (e.g. one miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy after another, or live childbirth followed by miscarriage), she shall be granted maternity leave benefits for the two contingencies in a consecutive manner. For SSS members, the number of benefits corresponding to the period where there is an overlap shall be deducted from the current maternity benefit claim.
For multiple childbirth (e.g. twins), a woman shall be granted only one maternity benefit, regardless of the number of offspring/children per delivery. – (Sec. 6, Rule V, RA 11210 IRR)
Does the counting of maternity leave period include Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays?
Yes, maternity leave should be availed of in a continuous and uninterrupted manner, thus, inclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays. Maternity Leave is counted in calendar days – (Sec. 2, Rule V, RA 11210 IRR)
Can a female employee who was terminated or who resigned from employment avail of maternity leave?
Yes, a female employee can avail of maternity leave if live childbirth, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy occurs not more than fifteen 15 calendar days after the termination of her employment. Such a period is not applicable when the employment of the pregnant worker has been terminated without cause.
Guide for private sector workers, workers in the informal economy, and voluntary contributors to the SSS
To qualify for the grant of maternity leave benefits, a female member must have paid at least three monthly SSS contributions in the 12-month period immediately preceding the semester of the birth, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy. – (Sec. 1, Rule VI, RA 11210 IRR)
The employee should notify her employer of the pregnancy and the expected date of delivery, who in turn shall transmit it to the SSS. The female worker shall still receive her maternity benefits even if she failed to notify her employer of her pregnancy, but it shall be subject to the guidelines prescribed by the SSS.
Self-employed, voluntary, and overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who are members of the SSS may give notice directly to the SSS. – (Sec. 2, Rule VI, RA 11210 IRR)
Extended Maternity Leave
In the case of live birth, a female worker in the private sector has the option to avail of an additional maternity leave of 30 days without pay. She should submit a written notice to her employer that she is availing of such, at least 45 days before the end of her paid maternity leave. In case of a medical emergency, prior notice shall not be necessary, but she should subsequently notify her employer of such.
Manner of payment and taxability
Full payment of maternity leave benefits to qualified female workers shall be advanced by the employer. The SSS shall immediately reimburse the employer for the applicable SSS maternity benefits. Any difference between the worker’s actual salary and the applicable SSS maternity benefits shall be borne by the employer. However, the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the EML provides certain exemptions from payment of salary differential.
The SSS shall directly pay the maternity benefits of female members who are self-employed, including those in the informal economy, OFWs, and voluntary contributors
Bureau of Internal Revenue Memorandum Circular 105-2019 issued on October 9, 2019, clarified that the salary differential provided by the employer under RA 11210 is a benefit exempt from income and withholding taxes
Guide for public sector workers
A pregnant female worker in the government service, regardless of employment status and length of service, in National Government Agencies, Local Government Units, Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations, State Universities, and Colleges, or Local Universities and Colleges may avail of maternity leave benefits under RA 11210. – (Sec. 1, Rule V, RA 11210 IRR)
Notice and other requirements
Whenever possible, the pregnant worker should notify the head of the agency of her pregnancy and the date of her maternity leave at least 30 days in advance. The following documents shall be submitted to the agency to be entitled to the maternity leave benefits:
Accomplished Application for Leave (Civil Service Form No. 6);
Medical Certificate issued by a government or private physician, as proof of pregnancy and estimated date of delivery;
Accomplished Clearance Form (Civil Service Form No. 7); and
Solo Parent ID, for solo parents who want to avail of the additional maternity leave of 15 days.
Extended maternity leave
In the case of live birth, a female public sector worker may also avail of the additional 30 days of maternity leave without pay, or use her earned sick leave credits for extended leave with pay. Vacation leave credits may also be used if sick leave credits are not sufficient. Extended maternity leave without pay shall not be considered as a gap in the service.
Manner of payment and taxability
A female public sector worker is entitled to full pay from her agency during her maternity leave. It may be received through a lump-sum payment or regular salary payment through the agency payroll. Since maternity leave in the public sector is considered a paid leave of absence, it is subject to tax.
Maternity leave in the teaching profession
The IRR of RA 11210 states that female teachers in the teaching profession may avail of maternity leave even during long vacations. In such cases, they shall be granted both maternity leave benefits and the proportional vacation pay. – (Sec. 3, Rule V, RA 11210 IRR)
Can pregnant women who are on job order or contract of service positions in the public sector avail of maternity leave under R.A. No. 11210?
Female “contract of service” and “job order” workers in government offices are classified as female workers in the informal economy. They may claim maternity leave benefits from the SSS if they have remitted to the SSS at least three (3) monthly contributions in the twelve (12)-month period immediately preceding the semester of her childbirth, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy. – (Sec. 1, Rule VII, RA 11210 IRR)
What is the allocation of maternity leave credits?
In the case of live birth, a female worker may allocate or transfer up to seven days of her paid maternity leave to the child’s father. This option is not applicable in cases of miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy, including stillbirth.
In the absence of the father, the female employee may still allocate said maternity leave to an alternate caregiver who is either a relative within the 4th degree of consanguinity or a current partner, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, who shares with her the same household.
Written notice to both the mother and the father or alternate caregiver’s employers shall be submitted to avail of the benefits. – (Sec. 1, Rule VIII, RA 11210 IRR)
Is the allocated leave the same as the paternity leave benefit?
No, the allocated maternity leave to the child’s father is different and is over and above that which is provided under the Paternity Leave Act of 1996 (RA 8187). This means that a father may now enjoy as much as 14 days of paid leave to take care of his child, depending on his marital status with the mother.
Under RA 11210, maternity leave credits may be allocated to the child’s father whether or not he is married to a female worker. On the other hand, paternity leave under RA 8187 may only be availed if the father is married to his child’s mother.
Maternity Leave Credits
The maternity leave credits can be credited as a combination of pre-natal and post-natal leave as long as it does not exceed 105 days and provided that the compulsory post-natal leave shall not be less than 60 days. – (Sec. 2, Rule IV, RA 11210 IRR)
If a woman undergoes a surgical procedure due to miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy, can she also avail of the Special Leave Benefits for Women under the Magna Carta of Women (MCW SLB)?
The MCW SLB refers to a female employee’s leave entitlement of up to two (2) months with full pay based on her gross monthly compensation following surgery caused by gynecological disorders or diseases. If the reason for surgery is pregnancy-related as mentioned above, she is entitled to maternity leave benefits, but not the MCW SLB.
Visit this page for further information on the MCW SLB.
What if the female worker dies or becomes permanently incapacitated during the maternity leave period?
When such an incident happens, the balance of her maternity leave benefits, if any, shall accrue to the child’s father or the qualified alternate caregiver, provided that it is not yet paid in cash and that a certified true copy of the death certificate or medical certificate/abstract is provided to the employers.
In case the maternity leave benefit is already paid in full prior to the incident, there is no need to return such. Instead, the child’s father or the qualified alternate caregiver shall be entitled to leave without pay for a period equivalent to the unused maternity leave of the female worker. Such leave without pay shall not be considered as a gap in the service, both for the private and public sectors. – Sec. 4, Rule VIII, RA 11210 IRR
Will a female worker be paid for services rendered if she returns to work prior to the exhaustion of her maternity leave?
No, since maternity leave under RA 11210 is no longer convertible to cash. This is consistent with the intent of the law to provide women with ample transition time to regain their health and overall wellness as well as to assume maternal roles before resuming paid work. Thus, female workers are encouraged to fully exhaust their maternity leave before returning to work.
What are the maternity benefits for female national athletes?
Female athletes in the roster of national athletes of the National Sports Association who becomes pregnant shall have these benefits:
- referral to a physician of the Philippine Sports Commission or an obstetrician-gynecologist to determine her fitness to continue training;
- allowed to participate in all team-related activities, unless the physician advises that participation is not medically safe or should be limited;
- upon medical advice, go on maternity leave until cleared to return to training; and
- continue receiving their allowance and benefits while on maternity leave prior to childbirth and up to six months after, unless advised by their physician that they can resume training sooner.
However, female national athletes who are employed in the public sector shall not receive double compensation or benefits. (Sec. 1, Rule IX, RA 11210 IRR)
Are there other maternity benefits aside from those provided by the SSS and employers?
Yes, the EML mandates that female workers who are neither voluntary nor regular members of the SSS shall be governed by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) Circular No. 022-2014 or the “Social Health Insurance Coverage and Benefits for Women About to Give Birth”.
Meanwhile, PhilHealth members may also avail of benefits like Maternity Care Package (MCP) if they have paid at least nine (9) months of premium contributions within the twelve (12) months prior to the first day of availment/confinement (including the confinement month). The other conditions for the grant of the PhilHealth benefits are as follows:
The maximum number of days of confinement (45 days for the member or a total of 45 days shared among all qualified dependents) per year has not yet been consumed; Procedure/operation must be done in a PhilHealth-accredited hospital/facility and attended by a PhilHealth-accredited doctor or must be admitted for at least 24 hours in a PhilHealth-accredited hospital/ facility and attended by a PhilHealth-accredited doctor.
What are the penalties for the violation of the EML?
Employers or agencies that violate RA 11210 shall be fined from P20,000.00 to P200,000.00; or shall be imprisoned for at least 6 years and 1 day or not more than 12 years. Moreover, their business permits shall no longer be renewed. – (Sec. 1, Rule X, RA 11210 IRR)
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