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Expanded Maternity Leave: What You Need To Know

Good news for pregnant moms! President Rodrigo Duterte has finally signed into law Republic Act 11210, also known as the Expanded Maternity Leave Act, last February 20. The bill, which officially takes effect 15 days after it is published in the Official Gazette, comes to a fruitful conclusion after undergoing a number of revisions and months of waiting in Congress and Senate.

Here are 10 things you need to know about EML Act:

#1 Paid Maternity Leaves have been increased from 60 days to 105 days

At the moment, women have only 60 days of maternity leave for normal delivery and 78 for caesarean delivery. With the ratification of the EML Act, moms who’ve given birth normally and via C-section both now have 105 days of paid maternity leave which they can avail of before or after giving birth.

#2 The 105-days of leave can be used before giving or after delivery

Expecting moms can start availing of their leaves even before giving birth, provided that they have at least 60 days of their leaves allotted for their post delivery recovery. This allows moms  the flexibility of choosing to take time off from work to prepare for the baby’s coming as well as having sufficient time after giving birth to bond with child and give her body time to recover before she goes back to work.

#3 Single moms have additional 15 days of paid leave

If you’re a single mom (as defined by the Solo Parent’s Welfare Act), you have an additional 15 day maternity leave with full pay. Single moms rejoice!

#4 You can extend up to 30 days—but without pay

Should you want to spend more time with your newborn or need more time to prepare mentally and physically before going back to work, you can opt to extend your maternity leave for 30 days more, but without pay. Just make sure to give your employer a written notice at least 45 days before your maternity leave period ends.

#5 EML applies to working moms in the private sector and in government service—single or married

Whether you work for a private company or for a government agency or organization, you can enjoy the benefits of the additional maternity leaves. But most importantly, the law applies to any woman bearing a child, regardless of her civil status. Cheers to all working moms!

#6 In cases of miscarriage or emergency termination, the present 60-day maternity leave given to holds

Women who experience a miscarriage, emergency termination of pregnancy, or give birth to a stillborn, will continue to benefit from the present 60-days maternity leave for their full recovery.

#7 No more cap on the number of pregnancies covered by maternity benefits

Mothers who are expecting their 5th child no longer have to worry that they will not enjoy the same benefits are first-time (or even four-time) moms. Older laws on maternity benefits set a cap on the number of pregnancies that are covered to only up to four pregnancies. The new EML Act does away with this limitation.

#8 Even dads benefit from the EML Act!

Take note, dear dads! The EML Act allows mothers to share seven days of their 105-day leave to the father of their newborn. The best part: the father can avail of the 7-day leave whether or not he is legally married to the newborn child’s mother. However, a written notice of the transfer is required to be submitted to the mother’s employer. For fathers who are legally married and living with their child’s mother, this additional seven days is on top of the 1996 Paternity Leave Act which provides only seven days of paternity leave, which means they can now have 14 days of leaves to allot for the care of their newborn.

#9 You are assured to receive your full pay for the duration of your maternity leave period

All employers are mandated by law to give their female employees expecting a child their full maternity benefits. If you’re a regular contributing member of the Social Security System (SSS), you can also enjoy the corresponding maternity benefit from SSS.

#10 And you will not lose your job because the law protects you with a security of tenure

The law assures working moms who choose to avail of the full 105 days leave will not lose their jobs or even fear a demotion from their current position when they got pregnant. While you cannot be demoted or terminated from work, you may be reassigned to a parallel position—with the assurance that your rank or status is not lowered, and that your salary is not reduced. Employers who refuse to comply with the new EML law may be fined at least PhP 20,000 up to PhP 200,000, with imprisonment of at least six years to 12 years.

 

The Expanded Maternity Leave Act of 2019 provides working moms a lot of benefits at work and can be considered a victory for the female workforce. But ultimately, the additional number of leaves allows mothers more time to nurture their newborn, gives them more time to fully recuperate and recover physically from the pregnancy, and prepares them for their return to work with renewed energy as a valuable part of the labor force.

 

Photo courtesy of freestocks.org on Unsplash.