Expanded Maternity Leave for Working Women in the Philippines

13 September 2018 06:14

Working women in the Philippines achieved legislative victory with the passage on the third and final reading of the 100-day Expanded Maternity Leave at the House of Representatives. This can be attributed to the strong campaign and power of the advocates led by trade unions. 

“Greater maternity days for women, expand women’s choices over her body.  A celebration of the value of care work, entails shared economy of care, equally among men and women,” said Mylene Hega of Akbayan Women .

Akbayan Party List Representative Tom Villarin, one of the authors of the Bill, said that the measure is a commitment of the Congress to care for the welfare of Filipino families.

Approved by the members of the lower house with 191 affirmative votes, House Bill No. 4114 seeks to expand the current policy of 60 paid maternity leave days to 100 for working women both in the private and public sectors.

The bill will now move to the bicameral conference committee and will be consolidated into a final version with its Senate counterpart.  The Senate’s counterpart bill was approved in March last year, seeking to expand paid maternity leave to 120 days.

TUCP Party list Representative Raymond Mendoza, also one of the Bill’s authors said that the passage of the measure into law signals a compliance to international labour and human rights standards.  “This will change how we do business and how we take care of our women workforce,” claimed Mendoza.

Work4EML* also vowed to monitor the progress of the bicameral conference committee and “push for the maximums.”  The difference in the number of days between the House and the Senate versions are a starting point of discussion.  For now, the group welcomes the progress that the old and inhumane maximum of 60 paid maternity leave days will soon be gone.

“This is a living proof that unity entails success, partial as it is, the next battle will be at the bicameral conference committee,” Mary Jane Vargas of BWI Philippines concluded.

*Work4EML is a conglomeration of women and labour organisations from Akbayan Women, Building and Wood Workers International (BWI), IndustriAll Philippines, Manggagawang Kababaihang Mithi ay Paglaya (MAKALAYA), NAGKAISA Labour Coalition and Public Services Labour Independent Confederation (PSLINK).