On March 6, 2017, the Senate of the Philippines voted 22-0 on Senate Bill 1305 that proposes to amend maternity benefits received by active SSS members into what is referred to as the Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2017.
Authored by Senator Risa Hontiveros together with Senator Sonny Angara, the Senate Bill 1305 will provide:
- added 120 days paid maternity leave in the Philippines to mothers and 30 days paid paternity leave to fathers.
If approved into law, the Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2017 will give additional 60 days paid maternity leave to mothers from the existing 60-days paid maternity leave for a new total of 120 days paid maternity leave.
Husbands also will get an additional 23 days paid paternity leave from the existing 7 days paternity leave for a new total of 30 days paid paternity leave.
Features of Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2017
There are significant features of the Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2017 that are worth taking note of.
1. Apart from the increased number of paid leaves (4 months for mothers and 1 month for fathers), the mother can opt to extend for another 30 days unpaid maternity leave.
2. Actively employed single mothers or solo parent-moms qualify for 150 days paid maternity leave.
3. Of the 120 days paid maternity leave, the mother can nominate 30 days to be transferred and used by alternate caregivers such as her spouse, common-law partner, or a relative up to the 4th degree of consanguinity, including adoptive parents.
4. The Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2017 covers all working mothers regardless of civil status or legitimacy of child.
5. Employers will advance payment of the SSS maternity benefit within 30 days from filing of the maternity leave application and must give compensation that is not less than 2/3 of the mother’s regular monthy wage.
6. Mothers who will use this benefit are assured security of tenure without cause or basis of demotion or termination.
Primary Benefit of this Expanded Maternity Leave Law
If approved into law, Senate Bill 1305 or the Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2017 will provide ample opportunity for the mother to provide ample neonatal care to her new-born child while at the same time safeguarding her health and full recovery from childbirth, making the Philippines compliant to the standards specified by the International Labor Organization’s standards on maternity protection.