Extending paid maternity leave in the country will produce healthier and more productive working mothers and future citizens capable of contributing more to economic development.
On Thursday, November 10, in a forum held at the Quezon Memorial Circle, Senator Risa Hontiveros reiterated the need to extend the paid maternity leave for Pinays.
"Hontiveros pointed out that this would support working mothers, as well as give them sufficient time to regain their strength and provide proper care [for] their newborn," reports the Philippine News Agency.
Hontiveros explained, "Ito ay magtitiyak din ng ganap na paghilom mula sa panganganak at breastfeeding (This will also ensure the proper healing of the mother and promote breastfeeding)."
In line with this advocacy, Hontiveros has filed Senate Bill 215, "which seeks to [extend] paid maternity leave to 120 days for female employees and another 30 days for solo mothers, is also aligned with the goal of protecting the child against diseases, including those that are life-threatening."
Hontiveros noted that the country's paid maternity leave status is outdated. "The maternity leave in the country is actually lagging behind in the standards set by the International Labor Organization (ILO),” she said.
Currently, the law grants only a 60-day maternity leave for women who give birth via normal delivery, and a 78-day maternity leave for those who give birth via C-section. The current policy is less than the minimum 98-day leave required by the ILO.
Hontiveros also cited comparative studies among our ASEAN neighbors. The maternity leave duration in Vietnam is 120 to 180 days; Singapore offers 112 days; Cambodia, Indonesia, and Thailand each set aside 84 days.