The Labor department has allayed fears that the Expanded Maternity Leave Law will discourage the hiring of women employees, and limit their participation in productive work.
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III instead urged enterprises to give the new law a chance to uphold the welfare of women workers and employees.
“We do not see this perceived fear as having any effect on the employment of women. Companies and enterprises hire workers based on their competencies and skills, and not on the basis of gender,” Bello said.
The labor chief said the law is a milestone legislation that will enable women to be economically active by helping them manage a healthy work-life balance, which translates to higher productivity at work.
Bello said the EML will also address the issue of low participation rate of women in the labor force, now ranging between 45 to 50 percent, attributable to their multiple role at home.
“The law will boost the employment participation of women as they are given longer time to rest and attend to their maternal obligations during childbirth period. It also addresses health issues among women as they are given ample time to recuperate after giving birth before reporting back to work,” he said.
The EML, signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte last month, grants a 105-day or three months of paid maternity leave for female workers in both government and private sectors regardless of the civil status or the legitimacy of her child.
The labor department together with the Civil Service Commission and Social Security System are working on the law’s implementing rules and regulations.
Female workers may already avail themselves of the benefits provided for in the new law.