Pacquiao wants 6 months’ paid maternity leave for working moms

Instead of limiting maternity leave to 60 days, boxing icon and Sarangani Rep. Manny Pacquiao has proposed giving mothers working in government and the private sector the right to take half a year off from their jobs to be with their babies.

Under House Bill 3590, maternity leave equivalent to 180 days or six months with full pay shall be granted to all women workers in the government sectors.
To be eligible for the half-year leave, the worker should have rendered an aggregate of 2 or more years in service.

Maternity leave for those who have rendered one year or more but less than two years of service shall be computed in proportion to their length of their service, while those who have served for less than a year shall be entitled to the 180-day leave but will receive only half the pay.
The bill further provides that every grantee shall notify her employer of the pregnancy and the probable date of her childbirth.
The working mother shall only be allowed to avail herself of the six-month paid maternity leave for the first four deliveries or miscarriages.

In pushing for the bill’s passage, Pacquiao said granting a six-month paid leave to working mothers will give them a longer time to take care of their babies, bond with them, and give them a chance to complete exclusive breastfeeding for six months.
The lawmaker, who has five children with Sarangani Vice Governor Jinkee Pacquiao, noted the International Labor Organization’s recommendation that the standard length of time for maternity leave should not be less than 14 weeks.

Citing data from the ILO, Pacquiao said among the negative effects on work of a shortened maternity leave are loss of motivation, difficulty concentrating, increased absenteeism, reduced productivity, impaired working relationships, and wanting or needing to leave a job.
“These adverse effects on work performance would have an impact on the business in terms of loss of productivity, difficulty retaining women staff, increased costs, poor industrial relations and poor company image,” he said.

Most European countries, Pacquiao said, offer at least six months of paid maternity leave, while in Asia only Vietnam offers the same right to its citizens.
He encouraged employers to be supportive of the measure.

“Employers in both the government and private sectors are encouraged to understand the long-term positive benefits they would gain should they grant their women employees the privilege of being able to nurture their babies for a longer period of time,” Pacquiao said.

HB 3590 is currently pending before the House committee on women and gender equality.
The Senate recently approved on third and final reading a bill seeking to increase to 100 days the maternity leave for female employees in the public and private sectors regardless of the mode of delivery.


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