Extended maternity leaves for pregnant employees proposed in Senate
MANILA, Philippines — A bill increasing the maternity leave benefits of a pregnant woman employee from 60 days to 120 days or four months has been filed at the Senate.
Under Senate Bill 2656 filed by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, every employer is mandated to grant any pregnant woman employee, who has rendered an aggregate service of at least six months for the last 12 months, maternity leave benefits of at least two weeks prior to the expected date of delivery and another 22 weeks after normal or caesarian delivery with full pay based on her regular or average weekly wages.
Trillanes, in filing the bill, pointed out that Article II, Section 14 of the Constitution provides that the State should recognize the role of women in nation-building and ensure the fundamental equality before the law of men and women.
“Also, Art. XIII, Sec. 14 of our Constitution provides that the State shall protect working women by providing safe and healthful working conditions taking into account their maternal functions, and such facilities and opportunities that will enhance their welfare and enable them to realize their full potential in the service of the nation,” he said in his explanatory note on the bill.
The senator also noted a Unicef report in 2008, which cited the Philippines’ Mortality Rate “wherein 32 Filipino children (per 1,000 live births) die before the age of five.” The Philippines, according to the report, ranked 86th among 190 countries with the highest under-five mortality rate.
The report, he said, also cited several recommendations that would help reduce the country’s mortality rate among which is access to exclusive breastfeeding for a long period of time.
“(The World Health Organization) even recognizes breastfeeding as an ideal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development,” Trillanes said.
The senator then sought for the immediate passage of his proposed measure.
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