Republic Act 11210 or the law that increased the maternity leave from 105 days with an option to extend for 30 days without pay, and granting an additional 15 days for solo mothers, was signed into law by President Rodrigo Duterte on Feb. 20. The new law took effect on March 11 and its implementing rules and regulations on May 1.

The fundamental bases are Article XIII, Section 4 of the 1987 Constitution which declares as a policy of the State 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; Art. II, Sec. 12 of the Constitution which 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; and Sec. 17 and 22 of the Magna Carta of Women which provides for women’s rights to health and decent work.

With the signing of the law, mothers are guaranteed 105 days of paid maternity leave. This applies to every instance of pregnancy. Employers are required to grant it regardless of the mode of delivery, civil status, legitimacy of the child, and employment status.

In cases of miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy, a 60-day maternity leave with full pay is provided.

Maternity leave in every instance of pregnancy, miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy and regardless of frequency, full payment is to be advanced by employers within 30 days from filing of the maternity leave application. Also, seven days from maternity leave credits can be allocated to the child’s father, whether or not he and the mother are married.

In cases of death or absence or incapacity of the father, the benefit may be allocated to an alternate caregiver who may be a relative within the fourth degree of consanguinity or the current partner of the mother sharing the same household. Those availing themselves of maternity leave credits, whether in government or private sector, are assured of security of tenure.

The 105-day expanded maternity leave covers those in the public and the private sector, informal economy; voluntary members of the Social Security System, and national athletes.

Workers in the private sector refer to or include domestic workers, who perform services for an employer in which either both mental or physical efforts are used, and who receive compensation for such services and where there is an employer-employee relationship.

To qualify for maternity leave benefits, the worker must have at least three monthly contributions in the 12-month period immediately preceding the semester of childbirth, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy.

In determining the member’s entitlement to the benefit, the SSS shall consider only those contributions paid prior to the semester of contingency; and she shall have notified her employer of her pregnancy and the probable date of her birth, which notice shall be transmitted by the employer to the SSS in accordance with the rules and regulations.

Failure to notify the employer shall not bar a worker from receiving maternity benefits, subject to guidelines to be prescribed by the SSS.

Self-employed members, including those in the informal economy, overseas Filipino workers may give notice directly to the SSS.

In cases of live childbirth, an additional maternity leave of 30 days, without pay, can be availed of, at the option of the worker, provided that the employer shall be given due notice. Due notice to the employer must be in writing and must be given at least 45 days before the end of the worker’s maternity leave. However, no prior notice shall be necessary in the event of a medical emergency but subsequent notice shall be given to the employer. The period of extended maternity leave without pay shall not be considered as gap in the service.

For more information on the Expanded Maternity Leave Law and its IRR, visit www.dole.gov.ph or www.csc.gov.ph.

END/Patrick T Rillorta