Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III on Thursday said employers will not be discouraged from hiring women with the signing of the Expanded Maternity Leave Law by President Rodrigo Duterte.
Bello noted that companies should be encouraged to hire women because when employees are happy, they are more productive.
“When you are a happy employee, you work well… It’s for the good of everybody especially for our women workers,” he said in an interview.
He added that they are looking to release the implementing rules and regulations within 45 days.
“Usually we are given 90 days but we don’t intend to fully utilize the 90 days,” he said.
Following new legislation extending to 105 days, the paid maternity leave benefit for working mothers, a leader of the House of Representatives on Friday batted for the passage of a bill lengthening the paid leave credits for new fathers.
“We have to be more supportive of both mother and father during childbirth, so it is just a matter of time before Congress also raises the paternity leave benefit,” said Surigao del Sur Rep. Johnny Pimentel.
“We want to allow husbands to physically and emotionally support their wives during childbirth, and to experience early child-father bonding for a longer time,” Pimentel, a father of five, said.
Pimentel is the author of House Bill 3401, which proposes to bump up to 15 days the existing seven-day paternity leave benefit payable to every working husband for each of the first four childbirths of his lawful wife with whom he is cohabiting.
“We have to give fathers at least half a month off work, with full pay, for them to be able to lend ample support to their wives in nursing their newborns, and to help mothers recuperate from childbirth,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel cited studies showing that husbands who took longer paternity leaves were more involved with their children and child care activities, thus reinforcing the long-term bond between father and child.
“There’s no question a lengthier paternity leave will go a long way in improving the Filipino family’s overall work-life balance,” he said.
In other countries, Pimentel said fathers get up to 90 days of paternity leave with 80 percent of their regular pay.
Pimentel’s bill seeks to amend the Paternity Leave Benefit Law of 1996, or Republic Act 8187.
The 23-year-old law, authored by the late Senator Ernesto Herrera, grants a statutory minimum paternity leave of seven days with full pay to all married male employees in the private and public sectors.
Under the law, the benefit also applies to a miscarriage or the loss of pregnancy by the wife.
The paternity leave benefit covers every husband who performs services for, and receives compensation from another, as long as an employer-employee relationship exists between them.
The married male employee has to apply for the leave benefit with his employer, except in cases of a miscarriage.
In batting for the swift passage of his bill, Pimentel invoked the mandates of the 1987 Constitution “for the State to promote the welfare of labor, solidify the family and provide improved quality of life for all.”
Senator Juan Edgardo Angara said the new maternity leave law proved once again that the Philippines is one of the best countries for women, particularly mothers.
“We are proud to be one with many countries around the world in recognizing the importance of mothers and in upholding the rights of every woman,” Angara said.
The senator also hailed the enactment of the expanded maternity leave measure as a “historical win for women, particularly mothers—and hence of the country as a whole.”
President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the expanded maternity leave bill, which he co-authored and co-sponsored in the Senate with principal author and sponsor Senator Risa Hontiveros,
Angara said new law recognizes the important role of women, especially mothers, in nation-building.
In 2017, the Philippines placed 10th in the ranking of the Global Gender Gap report, making it the most gender equal country in Asia.
The report, released by the World Economic Forum, ranked 144 countries based on four categories: Labor force participation, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment.
In 2011, the Philippines was named as the best place in Asia for women based on a report released by Newsweek magazine.
The country ranked 17th overall in the magazine’s “The Best and Worst Places for Women,” which analyzed 165 countries on five areas that affect women’s lives: treatment under the law, political power, workforce participation, access to education and access to health care.
The Philippines garnered an overall score of 86.3 out of 100 and is the only Asian country to be included in the Top 20.