President Approves: The Expanded Maternity Leave Law
It is truly a moment to rejoice for many women in the workforce. The Expanded Maternity Leave Law was signed by our current president, Rodrigo Duterte, last February 20, 2019. It almost nearly lapsed in the office of the President but it is comforting to know that despite the many issues our country is facing, he placed us as a priority.
The New Expanded Maternity Leave Law or EML is groundbreaking to many working women. It aims to provide longer leave days. What used to be a 60 day leave with pay shall now be 105 days or 3 months maternity paid leave. That is an additional 45 days for both normal and ceasarean deliveries, with no discrimination whatsoever to the employee’s civil status. Additional, seven days out of the 105 day can be transferred to the father. This is on top of his exclusive seven days paternity leave. While single mothers who qualified under the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act, can avail of additional 15 days leave with pay to the 105 days. That’s 120 days leave with pay.
More so, these leaves can be extended up to 30 days without pay so long as mothers inform their employers 45 days prior to the end of her maternity leave.
“Today is a massive victory for women and their families. The signing into law of the Expanded Maternity Leave Act is a moment mothers, families, and children will not only remember, but a victory generations of Filipinos will reap the benefits of for the rest of their lives,” stated by Senator Risa Honteveros.
She advocated for the signing of this law and a well-known women’s advocate.
But what does an extra 45 days mean? Why is it so important to pass a law to expand the maternity leave for women?
The government’s most basic responsibility is to protect the family unit and to guarantee a reasonable amount of maternity and paternity paid leave does exactly that. This expansion not only gives ample time for mothers to recoup from giving birth but it also allows them to properly care for their newborn as well as to train caregivers before they join the workforce once again.
This means longer time to breastfeed, to bond with their child that can only benefit the development of the newborn babies. The success of breastfeeding may also result of the added extra days for mothers who choose to nurse may have enough time to build a milk stash with the three months.
The extended leaves days give way for women to take better care of themselves physically and emotionally. Mothers who may encounter baby blues or post-postpartum depression will have necessary time to adjust to their current situation without the pressure of going back to work hovering on their heads.
And though this law have met a lot of controversies, it is no contest that the one who benefits the most out of all of these are the newborn babies. And that is the biggest win of them all.