Maternity leave is one of the benefits for female employees. Previously, the benefit granted is 60 days for normal delivery and 78 days for caesarian. The number of days was expanded to 105 days in the recently enacted R.A. 11210.
This law was approved on. Feb. 20, 2019. It was uploaded in Official Gazette on Feb. 21, 2019. Based thereon, it may have taken effect on March 8, 2019. The IRR has yet to be issued though.
Below are the salient points of the law in a two-part series of this post:
Title of the law
The title of the law is “105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law” which shall be used whenever reference is made to such law.
Declaration of Policy
In enacting the law, the declared policy of the State is enshrined under Article XIII, Section 14 of the 1987 Constitution which aims to protect and promote the rights and welfare of working women, taking into account their maternal functions, and to provide an enabling environment in which their full potential can be achieved.
Further, Article II, State Policies, Section 12 of the 1987 Constitution provides that the State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as the basic autonomous social institution and that it shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. Moreover, Sections 17 and 22 of Republic Act No. 9710, otherwise known as “The Magna Carta of Women,” provides for women’s rights to health and decent work.
To achieve these, and in recognition of women’s maternal function as a social responsibility, the State shall institutionalize a mechanism to expand the maternity leave period of women workers. This will provide them with ample transition time to regain health and overall wellness as well as to assume maternal roles before resuming paid work. This Act is consistent with local and international legal instruments that protect and promote the rights of women.
Grant of Maternity Leave
All covered female workers in government and the private sector, including those in the informal economy, regardless of civil status or the legitimacy of her child, shall be granted:
Provided, That in case the worker qualifies as a solo parent under Republic Act No. 8972, or the “Solo Parents’ Welfare Act,” the worker shall be granted an additional fifteen (15) days maternity leave with full pay.
Said benefit shall be granted regardless of whether she gave birth via caesarian section or natural delivery, while maternity leave of sixty (60) days with full pay shall be granted for miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy.
Deferment of maternity leave
Enjoyment of maternity leave cannot be deferred, but should be availed of either before or after the actual period of delivery in a continuous and uninterrupted manner, not exceeding one hundred five (105) days, as the case may be.
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Applicability to miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy
Maternity leave shall be granted to female workers in every instance of pregnancy, miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy, regardless of frequency: Provided, That for cases of miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy, sixty (60) days maternity leave with full pay shall be granted.
Procedure with SSS
A female Social Security System (SSS) member who has paid at least three (3) monthly contributions in the twelve (12)-month period immediately preceding the semester of her childbirth, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy shall be paid her daily maternity benefit which shall be computed based on her average monthly salary credit for one hundred five (105) days, regardless of whether she gave birth via caesarian section or natural delivery, subject to the following conditions:
(1) That the female worker shall have notified her employer of her pregnancy and the probable date of her childbirth, which notice shall be transmitted to the SSS in accordance with the rules and regulations it may provide;
(2) That the full payment shall be advanced by the employer within thirty (30) days from the filing of the maternity leave application;
(3) That payment of daily maternity benefits shall be a bar to the recovery of sickness benefits provided under Republic Act No. 1161, as amended, for the same period for which daily maternity benefits have been received;
(4) That the SSS shall immediately reimburse the employer of one hundred percent (100%) of the amount of maternity benefits advanced to the female worker by the employer upon receipt of satisfactory and legal proof of such payment; and
(5) That if a female worker shall give birth or suffer a miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy without the required contributions having been remitted for her by her employer to the SSS, or without the latter having been previously notified by the employer of the time of the pregnancy, the employer shall pay to the SSS damages equivalent to the benefits which said female member would otherwise have been entitled to.
In case the employee qualifies as a solo parent under Republic Act No. 8972, or the “Solo Parents’ Welfare Act,” the employee shall be paid an additional maternity benefit of fifteen (15) days.
Additional maternity leave without pay
An additional maternity leave of thirty (30) days, without pay, can be availed of, at the option of the female worker: Provided, That the employer shall be given due notice, in writing, at least forty-five (45) days before the end of her maternity leave: Provided, further, That no prior notice shall be necessary in the event of a medical emergency but subsequent notice shall be given to the head agency.
Liability for salary differential
Workers availing of the maternity leave period and benefits must receive their full pay. Employers from the private sector shall be responsible for payment of the salary differential between the actual cash benefits received from the SSS by the covered female workers and their average weekly or regular wages, for the entire duration of the maternity leave, with the following exceptions, subject to the guidelines to be issued by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE):
(1) Those operating distressed establishments;
(2) Those retail/service establishments and other enterprises employing not more than ten (10) workers;
(3) Those considered as micro-business enterprises and engaged in the production, processing, or manufacturing of products or commodities including agro-processing, trading, and services, whose total assets are not more than Three million pesos (P3,000,000.00); and
(4) Those who are already providing similar or more than the benefits herein provided. Provided, That said exemptions shall be subject to an annual submission of a justification by the employer claiming exemption for the approval of the DOLE.