Due to ‘pasa-load’ provision
Even men stand to gain from the bill expanding maternity benefits as it allows a mother to transfer to the father of the child up to 30 days of the 120 days of allowed maternity leave for child-care duties.
This, according to Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, was one of the reasons why he voted for Senate Bill 1305, or the “Expanded Maternity Leave Law of 2017”, last Monday.
The bill seeks to grant an additional 60 days of maternity leave to expectant mothers, expanding their leave credits to 120 days.
But Recto noted that under Section 6 of the bill, a mother entitled to maternity leave benefits may opt to allocate up to 30 days of said leave credits to the father of the child, whether they are married or not.
“This is the best pasa-load app ever invented. And a fair one too, as it does not impose the burden of matrimony,” Recto pointed out, in explaining his vote on the Senate floor.
The “30-day pasa-load leave” is also transferrable to alternate caregivers such as “the current partner sharing the same household”, and relatives up to the fourth degree of consanguinity.
Giving fathers more time to take care of their wives and children, the senator said, would benefit not only the family but humanity as a whole.
“Any step that lightens the burden for women, and lights the path for the full development of their being, benefits humanity,” he said.
In his speech, Recto said the bill was “past its due date and should have been delivered a long time ago.”
He cited studies on how longer maternity leaves result in better school test scores for the child and cuts maternal deaths by 13 percent.
“On the macro level, longer maternity leaves do no harm to the economy. On the micro level, longer maternity leaves make both the baby and the mother healthy and happy,” Recto said.
According to Sen. Risa Hontiveros, author and sponsor of the bill, the measure would bring the country closer to compliance with the International Labor Organization’s standards on maternity protection, a field where Philippine law is alarmingly inadequate.
Studies show that the Philippines’ maternity leave policy remains as one of the shortest among the member countries of the ILO.
Recto praised Hontiveros for championing a bill “which brings out the many bests in this institution.”
“It is a testament to our ability to multitask, that we can conduct high-profile investigation while we quietly craft wise legislation. It is a demonstration of the Senate tradition to champion progressive laws. It is a fruit of bipartisan push.”
The bill was also co-authored by Senators Sonny Angara, Francis Pangilinan, Loren Legarda, Nancy Binay, Manny Pacquiao and Antonio Trillanes IV.