A BILL has been refiled in the Senate guaranteeing 15 days’ paid leave to public and private sector workers who have to serve as caregivers to relatives.

Senate Bill (SB) 24 or the proposed Family and Medical Leave Act of 2022, is based on SB 303, which filed in the 18th Congress but did not become law.

“Many workers cannot afford to take unpaid time off work to provide care for their ailing child, parent or immediate family members. Family caregivers face financial, physical and emotional hardships, and in many cases their careers, incomes, and retirement security suffer because of their family responsibilities,” Senator Ramon B. Revilla, Jr. said in a statement accompanying the bill.

Under the bill, eligible employees include those who have performed at least 1,250 hours of service for a minimum of a year. However, it excludes any worker employed at an organization with less than 50 workers.

Eligible for paid family and medical leave are any worker, regardless of status, if any family member suffers from serious illness. The leave policy also applies to a worker who is rendered physically incapable of performing work.

The application must be accompanied by a notarized medical certificate duly accomplished by a physician. If the employer objects, the employee may obtain, at the expense of the employer, a second opinion from another healthcare provider with no links to the employer.

The returning employer must enjoy the same pay, benefits and work conditions as before.

The unused portion of the 15 days may not be carried over into the succeeding year. — Alyssa Nicole O. Tan