THE PROPOSED Expanded Maternity Leave bill cleared the Bicameral Conference Committee on Monday with the two chambers agreeing to 105 days of leave for qualified female workers.
“The legislative bicameral committee tasked to reconcile the Senate and the House of Representatives’ versions of the Expanded Maternity Bill Law successfully concluded its conference on Monday,” Senator Risa N. Hontiveros said in a statement.
House Bill 4113 and Senate Bill 1305 proposed to increase the current 60-day maternity leave to 100 and 120 days, respectively.
The Committee compromised on 105 days, which surpasses the 98-day minimum recommendation of the International Labor Organization.
“I think we can make a counter offer of 105 (days), which is higher than the 98 days, so much so, that under another provision there can be a so-called allocation of 7 days to paternal leave,” Representative Edcel C. Lagman of the first district of Albay told the Senate contingent composed of Ms. Hontiveros and Senator Nancy Binay-Angeles.
Mr. Lagman was referring to the Senate bill provision which proposed to allow beneficiaries to pass on up to 30 days of leave credits to the child’s father or an alternative caregiver, to which he had initially objected.
The increased maternity leave bill will cover all employees in the public and private sector, regardless of the type of delivery, and will also grant qualified female workers an option to extend a maximum of 30 days without pay.
Further, the panel also agreed to add 15 more days of leave credit to solo parents, giving them a total of 120 days of paid leave. It decided against the House provision to limit the grant of benefits to only four pregnancies.
The bill will also penalize employers for not complying with the maternity leave rules with a fine of P20,000 to P200,000 and the non-renewal of business permit. — Charmaine A. Tadalan