Let’s go for a 120-day maternity leave!


House bill filed extending 60-day maternity leave to 120
By Maila Ager
First Posted 13:18:00 04/29/2008

MANILA, Philippines — A bill extending the maternity leave benefits for women from the current 60 days to 120 days was filed Tuesday at the House of Representatives.

House Bill 3973 known as “An act increasing maternity leave benefits from 60 days to 120 days or four months” was initiated by Gabriela Women’s Partylist Representatives Liza Maza and Luzviminda Ilagan.

“Extending the period for maternity leave will not only give mothers the opportunity to fully recover, it will also give them the chance to breastfeed infants during the first four months,” Ilagan said in a statement.

See the rest of the article here. Thank you to my friend Haze for this heads up!

What do you think of this house bill? I’m all for it! Those extra days will make a huge difference in a mother’s bonding with her child — more breastfeeding time, more bonding time. It’s great that more attention is being given to maternity health care. I hope that when the the bill is passed (note: WHEN not IF!), there will be corresponding SSS benefits and just as important, support from employers. I don’t see myself becoming a stay-at-home-mom anytime soon, so this bill would create such a favorable, positive impact for working Moms like me.

How do they do it in other countries? Sweden grants either parent a 16-month parental leave. I’m not sure if parents can opt to split the 16 months, but isn’t that great? You get to spend the first year of your baby’s life with him without the worries of work getting in the way. (Note: To read more about Sweden, click here.) Italy grants up to 5 months of leave, France goes for 16-26 weeks, UK up to 52 weeks, Canada up to 35 weeks (which can be split between either parent). Read more about paid maternity leaves around the world here and here.

Not all the months are fully paid by the employer or Social Security, but the amount of time you spend bonding with your newborn is priceless.

Moving forward. Do note that the article was dated April 2008. It’s been a year since this article has been published. I hope action is being taken to bring this bill forward!

I’ve never really thought about this intently, as I’ve never been a Mom till now, but it all really makes sense. I can’t bear the thought of leaving my son when he’s two months old in the care of another person just yet. While I’m confident that I’ll have my family and friends to help me, there will definitely be a stronger struggle leaving a two month old at home versus leaving a four month old.

The above countries cited are all very much developed, and perhaps that could be one reason why they place a premium on parental health care. However, I believe that steps should still be taken to promote better parental health care no matter what state one’s country is in.

What are your thoughts? What are your experiences with paid maternity leave? Is 60 days enough? What’s paid maternity/parental leave like in the country you live in?

Credit: Images from stock.xchg

19 Comments on Let’s go for a 120-day maternity leave!

  1. Anna
    May 27, 2009 at 1:32 pm (11 years ago)

    Wow, if this bill will pass our legislators, it’s going to be great for the society. They say that during the formative years of the kid, at least one parent should be with them (ALWAYS!) so they can feel secured and grow with good guidance.

    Sana bigyan ng panahon ang batas na ito. Kahit na ‘yung first two months na lang ang paid….I’d rather stay home and be with my kid….ang hirap lang kasing maging work-at-home mom eh…there isn’t not much jobs to choose from.

    Mom from Manila

    Tingnan natin how this will be brought forward. I’m crossing my fingers and praying that it does get passed!

  2. Rachel
    May 27, 2009 at 2:32 pm (11 years ago)

    Wow it’s nice. I hope it will be granted, it will be a great help especially for the Moms.

    Especially for WORKING moms 😉

  3. kreez
    May 27, 2009 at 2:41 pm (11 years ago)

    I really hope that bill gets passed, I can only imagine how short two months is for a new parent to adjust and bond with the baby.

    kreezs last blog post..The Second Trimester Begins…

    At two months, the baby is still… a baby! Ack. And it would be so hard to breastfeed, even with the advent of bringing pumps to work. Let’s see how this goes.

  4. odette
    May 27, 2009 at 2:41 pm (11 years ago)

    i hope that pushes through!
    but knowing how our government works, it would be a miracle if they’d get it working this year. four months uninterrupted with the baby is pure bliss!

    odettes last blog post..my mom

    Elections are coming up. Perhaps one figure or two can take this up and bring it to life! I’d support that person!

  5. Justice
    May 27, 2009 at 3:00 pm (11 years ago)

    i do hope that this one gets granted. not that i’m still going to benefit from it—graduate na ako hehe

    Here in SG, 4 months paid leave is granted. That’s at least what my colleague is enjoying. Germany would have longer ones but since I never worked full time there, I can only speak on the part wherein they gave me (the mom) some monthly allowance when Kenau was born. It wasn’t big since di nga ako full time but at least may konting consuelo. The kids naman when registered na, they get this kindergeld (children cash–parang monthly pocket money from the state) from day 1 to 18 yata or til they finish school. (something like that)

    Justices last blog post..Because she’s worth it

    I’m a little bit aware of the Germany benefits after reading AnP’s blog! Galing diba? 😀 And ang friendly naman talaga ng Germany government. Family-friendly! Ok din ang 4 months ng Singapore ha.

  6. Toni
    May 27, 2009 at 3:06 pm (11 years ago)

    Follow the plurk thread here also!

  7. Toni
    May 27, 2009 at 3:35 pm (11 years ago)

    This one’s from my friend Christianne. She’s a Filipina Mom residing in Sweden:

    “Parents get 480 days, to be split between them. The only requirement is that each parent has to use at least 60 days. I wouldn’t really say that 480 days equates to 16 months, because you can avail of those days any way you want. If you apply for 7-day weeks, you get a bit more money each month but your leave will run out sooner. If you apply for 5-day weeks you could stay home with your baby longer. You can even apply for half-day leave, quarter-day leave, etc. until the child reaches 8 years old, if you still have days left over and want to work shorter hours to spend time with the child.

    Also they have what they call a “gender equality bonus”, if the parents split the 480 days between them equally, they’ll get around 3,000 SEK (20,000 PHP) extra.

    And every year you get 60 days you can use as “leave for care of a child”, those days can be used when your child is sick or needs to stay home from daycare.”

    More info here.

  8. Christianne
    May 27, 2009 at 3:41 pm (11 years ago)

    “The above countries cited are all very much developed, and perhaps that could be one reason why they place a premium on parental health care.”

    There are two other reasons I can think of:
    1) in Pinas the purpose of maternity leave is for the mother to recover from giving birth, which is why moms who get a C-section get an extra 15 days, not really to take care of the child. In the “developed countries”, only the filthy rich have nannies because labor is so expensive, and most people don’t have family members around who can take care of the baby full-time. A lot of people I know moved to Stockholm for work, and their parents live somewhere else in the country, so no lola or lolo to babysit. So it’s really just up to the mom and dad.
    2) declining population growth in Europe. If people couldn’t get compensated for staying home with a sick child, or are afraid that they will lose their jobs if they want to stay home for a year or two after giving birth, less people would have kids. That will spell disaster if in 20-30 years, the number of people retiring will exceed the number of young people entering the workforce. As we know that isn’t a problem in Pinas, far from it! :)

    On Point 1: Interesting. Oo nga ‘no, it could be more related to recovery than it is about taking care of the kid. Perhaps that’s a perspective the government could revisit. Sigh, nanny help is another thing I’m struggling with. I haven’t had any household help the past years and I’ve pretty much done well. But with a kid coming, I know I should be getting help. But I have a LOT of trust issues when it comes to securing nanny help. Ah, that’s for another entry. 😉

    Thanks a lot for the information, Christianne!

  9. Christianne
    May 27, 2009 at 6:54 pm (11 years ago)

    Oops, opinion ko lang ang point #1 ha, hehe. Parang bare minimum lang kasi ang 2 months for you to recover and re-gain some sort of equilibrium after giving birth, so I always thought it was for the mother to rest and recuperate.

    On nannies, naku that’s one decision I’m glad I don’t have to make. Mahirap nga pumili ng tamang tao.

    Some of my friends, lalo na yun mga nag-CS, did share that the recovery time wasn’t enough :(

  10. rowie
    May 27, 2009 at 10:52 pm (11 years ago)

    Two months (or even 2.5, as in the case of CS) is really too short. Even from a recovery perspective, after 75 days, kumikirot pa ang tahi ko and I really did NOT feel that my body was prepared to go back to work! Tingin ko dapat at least 3 months, even if the 3rd month isn’t fully paid (e.g., okay na siguro 50% of regular pay). I think 6 months would be ideal, because the first 6 months are really crucial (and having 6 months off would make it easier for moms to breastfeed their babies), but I don’t know if our country, being a 3rd world country, can afford that.

    The way I see it, parental leave isn’t really just a benefit for moms (or dads, in the case of paternity leave). It’s a benefit that you’re giving society as a whole by allowing babies to be looked after by their parents better in the first few months of their lives.

    Christianne, I think your analysis about #1 is correct, because here in the PH moms are only allowed to start their maternity leave 2 weeks before their due date. So I think it’s really about the mom’s recovery, and only secondarily about the baby.

    The really interesting thing is that the US, one of the richest countries in the world, has NO paid maternity leave. They have 12 weeks unpaid maternity leave and some private companies give other maternity benefits but it isn’t mandated by law. And if I’m not mistaken they don’t have paternity leave. I think that’s really sad.

    rowies last blog post..Ecomarket in Market Market.

    I REALLY want to breastfeed Timmy as much as I can. I already foresee some difficulty when I have to go back to work and need to pump. Sigh. We’ll see how it goes.

    No paternity leave in the US? That’s sad nga. Pati the other factors. Swerte pa pala tayo. To think US na yon!

  11. Ara
    May 27, 2009 at 11:54 pm (11 years ago)

    Hi. I’m glad that the Philippine government is now realizing that mothers need more time to recuperate/adjust. I hope the bill is approved. :-)

    I am a Filipina currenly living in Vancouver, BC. I just wanted to say that Canadians get 1 year off with maternity benefits. We can split it up with the hubby if we chose to do so.

    Oh wow, that’s a great benefit for both parents, and most especially for the baby! Go Canada :)

  12. Lissa
    May 28, 2009 at 1:19 am (11 years ago)

    That’s awesome that they’re extending it from 60 to 120 days. You need all the time you can get to bond with your baby. I left Connor at home when he was only 2 months and it was sad but I didn’t have enough time left. My MIL also stayed with us so that helped a bit. I did take off a couple weeks here and there before he turned 1 though. It’s a little different here in CA. At least the next time, I know that I have to earn as much PTO I can so I can maximize my time with our newborn. We’re allowed 4 weeks before your due date and a total of 16 weeks (~4 months) bonding and family leave afterwards. It also depends on how your work incorporates pay into their system though. We can get full pay as long as you have enough sick time and vacation time, so it’s really in your best interest to not spend them if you don’t need to.

    You’ll encounter trials and tribulations with your firstborn but it’s all worth it. :)

    They’re not extending it yet! The bill hasn’t been passed. Let’s cross our fingers that it does get passed. :)

  13. kat
    May 28, 2009 at 4:26 am (11 years ago)

    I think it’s great that a lot of European countries have government-mandated PAID maternity leave. Here, we have FMLA (Fam Med Leave Act) which allows both State and Fed Govs to grant you up to 3 months UNPAID maternity leave. Some private companies do provide paid leave, but this is not the norm. I took 6 months off UNPAID –which was great because you get to spend a lot of time with your new bebe, but also not great because I had zero moola. Ultimately though, time spent with baby is priceless!

    kats last blog post..did i ever tell you about the time i had a secret admirer?

    I guess we can’t have it all! But that zero-paid leave vs. 6 months with the baby? You’re right, priceless. I’d go for that too!

  14. Lissa
    May 29, 2009 at 12:42 am (11 years ago)

    I just had to comment on Rowie’s statement about the US having no paid maternity leave, that’s really not true. It may be a state by state basis but like I said in California, we’re entitled to paid disability leave (up to 4 weeks before your due date) and also 6 weeks paid and another 6 weeks unpaid leave. How much you get paid though is up to your employer but the State has to pay you for your disability and part of your bonding time. Ed was able to get paid family leave as well. It wasn’t full but he was paid for part of it. Granted, it’s not as good as Canada or some other European countries but I do hope that things will get better for new parents in the US overall.

    Thanks for the insights, Lissa!

  15. Marie
    May 31, 2009 at 8:32 am (11 years ago)

    I really hope and pray that that becomes law in the Philippines. Really, spending time with newly born bub is priceless.

    Here in Australia, I’m not exactly sure how many months the government gives maternity leave. Or, it could be dependent on the company one works for, I think. At work, I believe we have the option of either: doing 3 months full pay, or 6 months at half pay. Or 1 year, with only 6months at half pay. A bit flexible depending on what one prefers!

    Maries last blog post..Sooner than later

    That flexibility is a good thing!!! I wish we had that here. I would love to spend more than 2 months at home with the little one.

  16. Kay
    June 2, 2009 at 1:34 am (11 years ago)

    It would be nice to have 120 days if all 120 days would be paid.

    Kays last blog post..redeployed

    True, that would be a good thing!

  17. rowie
    June 2, 2009 at 6:59 pm (11 years ago)

    Thanks for the correction Lissa!

    Toni, sa Pinas you can only file maternity leave 2 weeks before your due date (unless you give birth early), but you can use your paid VL and sick leave as you wish naman e. :) (So if you add 15 days paid VL and 10 days SL, then that should be a total of 85 days for normal delivery and 100 days for CS).

    Our personnel office told me that a lot of moms use their VL (and some, even their SL) right after maternity leave to extend their time with their baby but since as a teacher I’m only allowed to use my paid VL during summer/sembreak, I just went ahead and took a leave without pay a few weeks before my due date, hehe! :) Di bale nang walang pay. 😛

    Another interesting thing: there’s also additional leave in the Philippines for solo parents (i.e., single parents). A lot of people don’t know about this, but if you’re a solo parent you can apply for a solo parent ID from DSWD and if you have that ID, your employer is required to give you paid leave for certain parent-related things (PTA meetings, child’s enrollment, when your child gets sick, etc.). I guess it’s similar to what Christianne was talking about (pero dito for solo parents lang; walang ganoon for married parents).

    rowies last blog post..Ecomarket in Market Market.

  18. rowie
    June 2, 2009 at 7:13 pm (11 years ago)

    Oh one more thing. There are some companies here that are very generous with parental leave though. My friend used to work for a company here in the Philippines that gives 1 month paid paternity leave (not sure how long the maternity leave is in that company but it’s also longer than the government requirement).

    rowies last blog post..Ecomarket in Market Market.

    I wish my company were like that. Haha! 😀

  19. somaie
    December 28, 2009 at 2:13 pm (11 years ago)

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