100 Days Maternity Leave Bill

Co-Sponsorship Speech
100 Days Maternity Leave Law
HB 4113, CR 13
By Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano
24 January 2017

Our fundamental law recognizes the important role of women in nation-building. Article XIII, Sec. 14 of the Constitution mandates the State to protect the rights of working women, taking into account their maternal functions, and to provide facilities and opportunities that will enhance their welfare and enable them to realize their full potential in the service of the nation.

So let’s break that down: first, “protect the rights of working women”; second, “take into account their maternal functions”; and third, “provide facilities and opportunities”. This bill is meant to implement this mandate.

With this in mind, consider our existing maternity leave. It is a mere sixty (60) days or 2 months. Do you know how a 2 month old baby looks? That baby is still so fragile he/she cannot even hold his/her head up. And yet, by that time most mothers must go back to work, as I did.

My own childbirth experiences and that of the other women I’ve worked with are my inspirations for this bill and that’s why when I sponsored it in the Senate last Congress, I named it the 100-Day Maternity Leave Law.

I took into consideration the International Labor Organization (ILO) recommendation of 98-Days Maternity Leave and I added two (2) days to make it 100 days. This bill passed on 3rd Reading in the Senate.

One hundred (100) days includes the additional forty (40) days that will give mothers that much needed extra time to care for, and breastfeed, their baby. By that time, many babies can hold up their head. They have gained substantial weight, sometimes double their weight, giving the mother the much needed reassurance that her baby will be alright when she goes back to work.

It also gives mothers a better chance to establish a breastfeeding routine. Studies have shown that the biggest hindrance in successfully breastfeeding one’s baby is going back to work. Thus, longer maternity leave periods encourage exclusive breastfeeding in women.

Strong maternity leave policies are also beneficial for employers. A study shows that it creates a more stable and loyal workforce, including reduced employee turnover and absenteeism, and increased participation of women in the workforce.

In the ASEAN region, we lag behind in terms of maternity leave duration.
• Vietnam provides 120-180 days of maternity leave
• Singapore gives 112 days of maternity leave
• Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR (Laos), Myanmar, and Thailand: 84 days of maternity leave
• Philippines: 60 days for normal delivery, 78 days for caesarian delivery.

Many of the women here are themselves working mothers who after sixty (60) days had to return to work, leaving behind a two (2) month old baby.

Colleagues, today, I stand before you to co-sponsor and seek your support for Committee Report No. 13, regarding House Bill No. 4113 or the “100-Day Maternity Leave Law.”

I am certain many of our male colleagues are supportive partners to their wives who juggle motherhood and a career. And as I mentioned earlier many of our female colleagues have gone through the problem of leaving their baby at home to resume work because of the 60-Day maternity leave.

Through policies like this, we can institutionalize standards that promote the rights of working women and protect them from discrimination based on maternity giving them the chance to realize their full potential in service of the nation as envisioned on the Constitution. In this light, I humbly urge the swift passage of this bill. #

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