Although the Department of Health has released a lot of campaign information on breastfeeding, many new moms opt to bottle feed. Researchers who underscored the reason for low breastfeeding rates in the country shared their findings. The primary reason most working moms cannot exclusively breastfeed for six months is because they have to return to work 60 days after their maternity leave.
Philippine legislators finally realized how prohibitive this was to new mothers. So in 2019, they crafted the Republic Act 11210, also known as the “105-Dy Expanded Maternity Leave Law.” This extends paid maternity leaves from 60 days to 105 days or up to 3 months. Because of this, moms are given more time to rest, recover, and find time to breastfeed. If you’re pregnant or have newly given birth, or if you are an employer who needs more information, here are the five things you must know about RA 11210.
1. Who can benefit from the expanded maternity leave law?
All female workers in both public and private sectors, whether single or married, can receive these maternity benefits. This also includes voluntary, self-employed, OFW SSS members, as well as female athletes. Moreover, terminated employees who give birth or have a miscarriage not more than 15 days after their service was terminated is eligible for these maternity benefits.
2. In order to take advantage of these benefits, what am I required to do?
Employees or self-employed women must have paid at least 3 months of their SSS contributions for the past year before they give birth or before a miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy. They must also ask their employer or company HR heads about other requirements and forms that must be filled out.
Notably, employed females who are non-SSS members will receive coverage through PhilHealth under Circular No. 0222-2014. This is also known as the Social Health Insurance Coverage and Benefits for Women About to Give Birth.
3. When can pregnant women start taking advantage of their maternity leave benefits?
Women can start their maternity leave at least 45 days before their expected date of deliver. The latest time is 60 days after delivery.
4. What are the specific benefits women can enjoy?
All women who can satisfy the noted requirement above can enjoy maternity leave for every pregnancy. The new expanded leave law has abolished the previous rule that capped it to four pregnancies.
Furthermore, all women who qualify are entitle to 105 days of paid maternity leave with 100% of average daily salary credit whether normal or cesarean delivery method. These women can also opt to extend their leaves for up to 30 days when the paid maternity leave is done. However, this extension is no longer paid.
Noteworthy, mothers who qualify under RA 8972 or the Solo Parents Welfare Act of 2000 can have an addition 15 days of paid maternity leave, making their total 125 paid maternity leaves.
Women who suffer a miscarriage must receive 60 days paid maternity leave. It is important to remember that a woman can choose to give seven days of her paid leave to her spouse, partner, or any caregiver up to 4th level of consanguinity.
For those who are married, the father of the child can have a 7-day paid paternity leave under RA 8187 or Paternity Leave Act of 1996. A father’s paid paternity leave can be up to a maximum of 14 days (this includes the mother’s allocation).
5. What will happen to employers who do not comply with the rules?
The Philippine government reminds all employers to comply with the rules stipulated in the laws. As the country sees that family as the basic unit of a good and upright society, businesses are expected to give all employees what is rightfully theirs based on the law. Those who fail to follow will suffer the following repercussions.
- A fine between P20,000 to P200,000
- Those who cannot pay will be imprisoned for a least 6 years and 1 day but no more than 12 years
- The business permit will not be renewed
As always, ignorance of the law is never an excuse, so it’s your job as a business owner to stay updated and provide your employees all the correct benefits they rightfully deserve. Remember, pregnancy and child birth are potential events in your female employees’ lives. Similarly, fathers will also seek paternity leave upon the birth of their newborn child.
If you’re an employer, stay on top of your employees’ maternity and paternity leaves and compensation with proper accounting and bookkeeping systems. Our accounting firm offers extended benefits like payroll services so we can help you keep track of these issues. Call our accounting experts today for a free 30-minute consultation.