More benefits for pregnant workersBy Leila B. Salaverria
Pregnant women in the workplace should have more in benefits to help them maintain their health even as they continue to work in their delicate condition.
Laguna Rep. Maria Evita Arago has filed a bill that would allow pregnant working women to have medical days off aside from the regular leaves of absence available to workers.
The bill would also allow pregnant workers to have flexible working hours, as long as this does not affect productivity.
“This bill hopes to aid pregnant women during the course of their delicate condition and at the same time ensure that their employment will remain secure while they are pregnant,” said Arago in her explanatory note to the measure.
Under the bill, pregnant workers would be allowed a one-day medical leave each month of the pregnancy, which they could use for medical consultations. They could also avail themselves of leaves for ailments suffered in relation to the pregnancy.
This would be in addition to regular leave privileges they may have under the law.
On the part of the workers, they would have to submit a medical certificate confirming the pregnancy or the related illness to their employers before availing themselves of the medical leaves. They would also have to notify their employers of their intention to be absent from work five days in advance.
The leaves would be available only to those who had been working for their employers for at least a year prior to the pregnancy. The absences must not disrupt company productivity as well.
The bill would also direct the Department of Health to develop a comprehensive health care program for pregnant women.
The program would be implemented through government hospitals and medical clinics down to rural health units.
Employers found in violation of the law would be slapped a top fine of P25,000 or imprisoned for up to six months.