24 January 2017
Pia co-sponsors 100 Days Maternity Leave Bill
Extended maternity leave to allow women workers to be at par with ASEAN, ILO standards
House Deputy Speaker Pia S. Cayetano on Tuesday reiterated her support for the measure seeking to extend the maternity leave for women workers in the country from the current 60 to 78 working days to 100 days.
In her co-sponsorship speech delivered in plenary, Cayetano said the proposed ‘100-day Maternity Leave Law’ (HB 4113) will allow women workers in the country to be at par with their counterparts in Southeast Asia, while also keeping up with global standards set by the International Labor Organization (ILO).
Cayetano noted that the ILO, which recognizes the need to promote equality for women in the workforce and guarantee the health and safety of mother and child, recommends the standard period of maternity leave at not less than ninety eight (98) days.
“In the ASEAN region, we lag behind in terms of maternity leave duration. Vietnam provides one hundred twenty (120) to one hundred eighty (180) days of maternity leave – depending on working conditions and nature of the work,” she said.
“Singapore, on the other hand, provides one hundred twelve (112) days of maternity leave. Both countries give beyond what the ILO prescribes. Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR (Laos), Myanmar, and Thailand all provide a maternity leave period of eighty-four (84) days,” she added.
“(Meanwhile) the Philippines provides only sixty (60) days for normal delivery, while seventy eight (78) days for caesarian delivery,” Cayetano noted.
She said the additional maternity leave credits will accord mothers much-needed extra time to care for and breastfeed their newborn. “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.”
She added that strong maternity leave policies will also be beneficial to employers. “A study shows that (the policy) creates a more stable and loyal workforce, including reduced employee turnover and absenteeism, and increased participation of women in the workforce.”
“Through policies like this, we can institutionalize standards that promote the rights of working women and protect them from discrimination… giving them the chance to realize their full potential in service of the nation as envisioned on the Constitution.” #