The Upper Chamber has passed Senate Bill No. 2982 otherwise known as the Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2015 that seeks to increase the maternity leave for both public and private employees to 100 days.
The bill was approved by lawmakers during its third and final reading on Monday with a landslide vote of 19-0, a senate news release said.
If enacted into law, the bill will significantly increase the current maternity leave ranging from 60 to 78 days.
Senator Pia Cayetano, who sponsored the bill, noted that this is noticeably lower than the International Labor Organization’s minimum requirement of a 98 days maternity leave.
“Through policies like this, we aim to institutionalize standards that promote the rights of working women and protect them from discrimination based on maternity,” she said.
Cayetano who also chairs the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality added that the bill will enable mothers to spend quality time with their newborns.
“The expansion of the maternity leave period shall not in any way diminish the existing maternity benefits granted by the employer. It shall not affect the female employee’s security of tenure,” she said.
Aside from this, she said mothers can opt to go for an additional 30-day leave without pay beyond the initial 100 days maternity leave.
But this can only be done if a formal notice is filed with the employer 45 days before a mother’s maternity leave ends.
The bill states that private employees availing of maternity leave must get not less than two-thirds of their regular monthly salary, with some exemptions.
“Employers from the private sector shall pay the salary differential between the actual cash benefits received from the SSS by the covered employees and their average weekly or regular wages, for the entire duration of the ordinary maternity leave,” the bill read.
Data from the SSS showed that less than two percent of female members availed of the maternity leave from 2012 to 2014.