After more than six years of intense campaigning and lobbying by IndustriALL affiliated unions, women workers’ in the Philippines will now benefit from increased paid maternity leave, as a new law comes into force.
Women workers and unions celebrate as Philippines’ President gave the final push on 21 February to a Senate Bill extending maternity leave in the country.
The new law increases the current paid maternity leave of 60 days for normal delivery and 78 days for caesarian, to 105 days for female workers in government and the private sector, including those in the informal economy, regardless of civil status or the legitimacy of the child. The law allows allocation of up to seven days of leave to the child’s father.
This law has been achieved through the efforts of women and men leaders of IndustriALL Philippines, together with allied unions, legislators, women’s rights advocates and other supporters,
says Eva Arcos, national vice president of Associated Labor Unions (ALU) and IndustriALL Women co-chair.
As well as being very good for mothers’ and babies’ health, it will protect jobs and secure the income of working women while on maternity leave.
The law covers the wage difference between the average or regular monthly salary and the full payment of the maternity benefit. Exceptions, like micro-business enterprises and retail/service establishments employing less than ten workers, are subject to annual submission of justification for exemption.
Non-compliance with the law can be fined up to P20,000.00 – 200,000.00 (US$385 – US$3,850), and six to twelve years in prison.
IndustriALL Philippines Women Committee (IPWC) chair Susanne Dejon says:
The new law protects women workers and their health. It is a major victory for all workers in the Philippines.
Asuncion Binos from Pinagisang Tinig at Lakas ng Anakpawis (PIGLAS) and former IPWC chair, says:
The expanded maternity leave law shows that things can change for the better. It took hard work and unity among affiliates to achieve this great result, and we hope that this success encourage more women victories in the future.
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