15 days paid paternity leave eyed after expanded maternity benefit
MANILA, Philippines — After the enactment of the 105-day paid maternity leave benefit for women workers, Congress is “expected to lengthen the paternity leave for fathers as well,” Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel said Friday.
Pimentel authors House Bill No. 3401 which seeks to amend the Paternity Leave Benefit Law of 1996 or Republic Act No. 8187 to bump up to 15 days the existing seven-day paid paternity leave for each of the first four childbirths of his lawful wife with whom he is cohabitating.
In a statement, Pimentel said the government should be more “supportive of both mother and father during childbirth.”
“We want to allow husbands to physically and emotionally support their wives during childbirth, and to experience early child-father bonding for a longer time,” Pimentel, a father of five, added, arguing that an additional seven days of paid leaves would give fathers more time to nurse their newborns, and help mothers recuperate from childbirth.
According to the lawmaker, studies have shown that husbands who took longer paternity leaves “were more involved with their children and child care activities,” thus “reinforcing the long-term bond between father and child” and “improve the Filipino family’s overall work-life balance.”
Pimentel cited that in other countries, fathers get up to 90 days of paternity leave with 80 percent of their regular pay.
The 23-year-old RA 8187 grants a statutory minimum paternity leave of seven days with full pay to all married male employees in the private and public sectors, even to cases of miscarriage or the loss of pregnancy by the wife.
In batting for the swift passage of his bill, Pimentel invoked the mandates of the 1987 Constitution “for the State to promote the welfare of labor, solidify the family and provide improved quality of life for all.”
President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, February 20, signed into law the measure that would grant a 105-day paid maternity leave for female workers in the government and private sectors regardless of the type of childbirth.
The previous law allows a 60-day paid maternity leave for normal childbirth and 78 days for cesarean delivery.
Under the new law, seven days out of the 105 days maternity leave could be allocated for paternal leave, while an additional 15 days of paid leave may be availed by solo mothers.
The said maternity benefits could also apply to every instance of pregnancy or without limit, and grants an option to extend the leave to an additional 30 days without pay. /muf
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