Longer maternity leaves pushed

 

By Rose de la Cruz

 

Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy of Bagong Henerasyon partylist and chairman of the committee on women and gender equality, voiced her full support to measures that would lengthen the mandated maternity and paternity leaves, to be at par with those prescribed by the International Labor Organization and the World Health Organization.

 

She gave her full support to the proposed longer maternity and paternity leaves in a dialogue with women leaders from the Workers for Expanded Maternity Leave (Work4ML) group when they trooped to Congress recently.

 

The current consolidated house version of the bill proposes 100 days maternity leave. Giving their "yes" to the bill so far are Rep. Raymond Mendoza of TUCP Party-list and Rep. Tom Villarin of Akbayan Party-list, who helped organize the meeting of women and trade unions with Representative BH as soon as she assumed chairpersonship of the Committee.

 

"Dagdag na maternity leave, pusuan," said one of their placards. Present laws allow women who had normal delivery to take 60 days of maternity leave; and 78 days if by caesarian section.

 

Their spouses get seven days of paternity leave. Under the ILO and the World Health Organization's standard, a minimum of 98 days is recommended for maternity leave. The Philippines has the fewest days for maternity leave in the ASEAN.

 

"This is a most fitting Valentine's Day gift to working mothers. We hope Congress approves the bill soon," the women's groups said in a statement. 

 

Women's groups and trade unions are asking for up to 120 expanded days of maternity leave with pay for women workers so as to enable them to fully recover and take care of their newborn babies.

 

The group is composed of women leaders of political parties, women groups and worker's unions, namely Akbayan Women, IndustriALL, Nagkaisa-Women, Sentro Women, Alliance of Filipino Workers, Public Services Labor Independent Confederation, Mangagawang Kababaihan Mithi ay Paglaya (MAKALAYA), Building and Wood Workers International, Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Labor Union, Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, United Cavite Woodworkers Union , Partido Manggagawa and Sanofi Aventis Employees Union.

 

The proposed measure effectively allows additional paternity leave, too. The bill provides that part of the maternity leave may be availed of by the spouse or the kin or the partner who will help the working mother take care of her baby.

 

"Nagagalak po kami sa pagsusulong ng Bagong Hirang na chairperson ng Komite ng Kababaihan sa Kongreso ng dagdag na maternity leave," the women's groups said.

 

Workers for Expanded Maternity Leave (Work4EML), group courted other members of Congress for support to the bill by distributing roses. "Sana ay makuha namin ang kanilang matamis na 'oo' para sa dagdag maternity leave," the groups said.

 

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