President Duterte has signed into law the Expanded Maternity Leave Act (EML) bill on February 20, 2019. This Republic Act No. 11120 shall be known as “105-day Expanded Maternity Leave Law”. The law will grant additional maternity leave benefits to working mothers, from 60 to 105 days.
“In recognition of women’s maternal function as a social responsibility, the State shall institutionalize a mechanism to expand the maternity leave period of women workers. This will provide them with ample transition time to regain health and overall wellness as well as to assume material roles before resuming paid work,” the law stated.
All covered female workers, regardless of civil status or the legitimacy of her child, shall be allowed to avail one hundred five days (105) maternity leave with full pay. In addition, she has an option to extend her leave up to thirty (30) days without pay. For those women who qualified as solo parent under RA 8972 “Solo Parents Welfare Act” shall be granted an additional fifteen (15) days maternity leave with full pay on top of the 105 days.
For miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy, maternity leave of sixty (60) days with full pay has not been changed in this law.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that Duterte’s signing of the law may be perceived to “lessen profits” for employers, however, he also said that business owners have “big profits” and that expanded benefits should be the “social service.”
The government encourages employers to follow the new law, regardless of what is stipulated in their companies’ rules and regulations.
The International Labor Organization Maternity Protection of 2000 has set the maternity leave to 14 weeks, including a period of six weeks compulsory leave after childbirth. The Philippines is one of the ASEAN countries that have the shortest maternity leave duration aside from Malaysia.
A penalty of around P20,000 for the non-conferment of the expanded maternity leave to employees would be imposed.