NEWS: House urged to OK extended maternity-leave measure

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A lawmaker on Tuesday urged House leaders to immediately approve one of its priority bills seeking to increase the mandatory maternity leave for female workers from 60 to 100 days.

Rep. Sajid G. Mangudadatu of the Second District of Maguindanao, one of the principal authors of the bill, said House Bill (HB) 4113 will grant working women expecting babies 100 days maternity leave, 40 days more than the current authorized leave with pay of 60 days.

Mangudadatu, vice chairman of the House Committees on Muslim Affairs and Mindanao Affairs, said HB 4113 has been recommended for plenary approval by the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality. The bill, he added, consolidated 15 legislative proposals that included his bill. The bill, however, is currently pending before the plenary deliberations.

HB 4113 also allows the mother to extend the authorized leave of absence to another 30 days but without pay.

Last week President Duterte lauded Mangudadatu’s programs for women and children in his congressional district in Maguindanao, saying that he can pursue a national action for their welfare. Mangudadatu is now included in the PDP-Laban senatorial candidates for 2019.

Earlier, Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano said the proposed 100-day maternity-leave law will allow women workers in the country to be at par with their counterparts in Southeast Asia, while also keeping up with global standards set by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Cayetano noted that the ILO, which recognizes the need to promote equality for women in the work force and guarantee the health and safety of mother and child, recommends the standard period of maternity leave at not less than 98 days.

“In the Asean region, we lag behind in terms of maternity-leave duration. Vietnam provides 120 to 180 days of maternity leave, depending on working conditions and nature of the work,” she said.

“Singapore, on the other hand, provides 112 days of maternity leave. Both countries give beyond what the ILO prescribes. Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Thailand all provide a maternity-leave period of 84 days,” she added.

“[Meanwhile,] the Philippines provides only 60 days for normal delivery, while 78 days for caesarian delivery,” Cayetano noted.

Party-list Rep. France L. Castro of ACT Teachers also urged her fellow members of the House of Representatives to immediately approve HB 4113, or the 100-day maternity-leave law, saying that the government should ensure women workers and employees in the public and private sectors sufficient maternal protection through a longer paid maternity leave.

“This measure had already gone through long and adequate study by both Houses in the past Congresses, which included the inputs of all concerned sectors, especially women workers and employees who will benefit from the law,” said Castro.

“The approval of this bill now by Congress is by no means rushed, but instead long overdue. Delaying its passage any longer is a disservice to toiling Filipino women,” she added.

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