DOLE chief: ‘We will expedite IRR’ for Extended Maternity Leave Act
MANILA, Philippines – Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Thursday assured a prompt crafting of the Expanded Maternity Leave Act’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR).
Bello said they hope to finish the IRR of the newly-enacted law in 45 days.
In an interview, Bello said DOLE is “usually given 90 days, pero (but) we don’t intend to fully utilize the 90 days.”
“Baka in 45 days, we will come up with it… We will expedite the IRR,” he added.
President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the Expanded Maternity Leave measure on February 20. A copy of the signed law was released to the media on Thursday.
Aside from DOLE, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and Social Security System (SSS) were also mandated by the law to craft the IRR.
While concerned government agencies are yet to meet and discuss the new law, Bello said there would be retroactive application of the decree to cover new mothers who would give birth prior to the IRR.
“The law is always prospective but it can be retroactively applied if it is favorable to women,” the DOLE chief said.
“Lahat ng nanganak, ‘yung mga manganganak, they will be covered kahit wala pang IRR. Definitely in the IRR, it will be retroactively implemented,” he added.
The new law gives working mothers, both in government and private companies, 105 days or 3 months of paid maternity leave. This can be extended to 30 more days of leave without pay.
It also allows allocation of a total of 7 days out of the 105 days for paternal leave, expanding paid leaves for fathers to 14 days.
Solo mothers, the law says, would have additional 15 days of paid leave on top of the 105 days.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, who pushed for the passage of the measure as chair of the Senate committee on women, hailed the signing of the law as a big victory for Filipino women and families.
“Isang malaking tagumpay para mga kababaihang Pilipino at ating mga pamilya ngayong araw sa pagsasabatas sa wakas ng expanded maternity leave law,” Hontiveros told reporters in an interview.
She said the Philippines is now “at par” with international standards in terms of the minimum number of maternity leave days.
“Mas may panahon ngayon si nanay na magpahinga pagkatapos magbuntis at manganak, mas may panahon i-establish ‘yung exclusive breastfeeding, mas may panahon din si tatay at ‘yung buong pamilya mag-bond kay baby,” Hontiveros pointed out. /kga
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