Lapid bill: Extended leave for domestic violence victims
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Lito Lapid has filed a bill that will extend the paid leave credits of victims of domestic violence to 20 days.
The current law allows10 days paid leave from work for domestic abuse victims to provide them with the opportunity to “pursue legal proceedings, relocate their residence, care for their children, or attend counseling sessions.”
Lapid filed Senate Bill 978, seeking to amend Republic Act (RA) No. 9262, otherwise known as the Anti-Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) Act.
Citing preliminary results from the National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) conducted by the Philippine Statistics Authority in 2017, Lapid said “one in four married women aged 15-49 have experienced physical, sexual or emotional violence.”
“But the burden that victims of domestic violence bear does not end upon emancipating themselves from their abusive partners…In the case of legal proceedings alone, there may be a need to go to court once a month,” he said in the bill’s explanatory note.
“The same can be said for counseling and therapy that needs to be regular in order to be effective. Add to this the similar needs and frequency of appointments for the minor children of women who have also suffered domestic violence,” he added.
Due to these circumstances, Lapid said the minimum 10 days of leave afforded to domestic abuse victims “would be grossly insufficient.”
While the VAWC Act allows extension of the 10 days presently provided under law, Lapid noted that such extension would only be allowed upon approval and determination of the court.
In Lapid’s proposed measure, the minimum number of leaves needed by a victim would be available to them “immediately upon court determination that they are indeed suffering from domestic abuse – as opposed to the need to further establish and justify the need for more than 10 days leave.”
Under the bill, eligible employees would be able to claim their allowable leaves once certification from proper authorities and due notice to their employer have been submitted.
“This piece of legislation hopes to empower victims of domestic abuse to recover from the trauma of their past by them put in order their medical, legal and domestic needs,” Lapid said. /gsg
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