“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”
― Alain de Botton

Given today’s busy lifestyle, raising a family can be tough for the modern office woman. The 9 to 5-er needs to balance her office schedule, comply with deadlines, and attend to the needs of her family at the same time.

But for a pregnant woman, the situation is made all the more complicated. Her mobility is restricted, her health delicate, and her overall needs require extra attention.

Thankfully, Philippine labor laws are responsive and accord special rights to pregnant women. Not only that, it also grants additional rights to expectant fathers and solo parents. Here is a comprehensive guide to the more relevant pregnancy and maternity rights in the workplace. (updated as of May 1, 2016)

Non-discrimination clause

As a general rule, no employer shall discriminate against any employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment on account of his/her status.

This provision is standard across all the relevant laws, and if ever discrimination or termination should arise, the employee can file a civil action for damages. This is in addition to other actions which can be filed under Labor law.

RA 10151 re: Employment of Night Workers

With regard to women night workers, the law grants that those pregnant women or those nursing
their children for a period of at least 16 weeks before or after childbirth are allowed alternative to night work, such as:

(a) transfer to day work when possible;
(b) the provision of social security benefits; or
(c) an extension of maternity leave.

During the periods referred to above, a woman night worker shall not be dismissed from work except for just or authorized causes as provided by law. These causes must not be connected with pregnancy, childbirth and childcare responsibilities.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers may be allowed to work at night only if a competent physician, (other than the company physician) shall certify their fitness to render night work. The physician shall specify the period of the pregnancy wherein the employee can safely work.

Maternal leave

RA 7322 is the most recent amendment concerning Maternal Leave. This law is to be read together with Article 133(a) of the Labor Code, as well the benefits stipulated in the CBA of the company, if any.

What are the requirements or steps to Avail of Maternity Benefits?

For the pregnant woman to be covered under the SSS Act, the following must be complied with:

  1. The pregnant woman employee must have paid at least 3 monthly contributions within the 12-month period immediately preceding the semester of her childbirth or miscarriage.
  2. She has given the required notification of her pregnancy through her employer if employed, or to the SSS if separated, voluntary or if a self-employed member.

What are the Conditions of the Maternity Leave?

The following are the basic conditions of the Maternity Leave:

  • She will be granted 2 weeks leave before the expected date of delivery.
  • She will be granted 4 weeks leave after normal delivery or abortion.
  • She shall be paid a daily maternity benefit equivalent to 100% of her present basic  salary, allowances and other benefits or the cash equivalent of such benefits for 60 days. (if caesarian delivery, payment shall be for 78 days.)
  • The maternity benefits shall be paid only for the first 4 deliveries.
  • Payment of daily maternity benefits shall be a bar to the recovery of sickness benefits provided by this Act for the same compensable period of 60 days for the same childbirth, abortion, or miscarriage.

Extended Maternity Leave

Maternity leave may be extended on account of illness arising out of the pregnancy, delivery, abortion or miscarriage, which renders the woman unfit for work. Extended maternity leave is without pay, but may be charged against any unused leave credits.

Who furnishes payment, the employer or SSS?

The employer shall be the one to furnish full payment of the maternity benefits within 30 days from the filing of the maternity leave application.

The SSS is ultimately the one who shoulders payment, but the procedure is that the payment is to be initially advanced by the employer. This is subject to immediate reimbursement by SSS.

Valid marriage not required

Unlike paternity leave which requires a valid marriage for it to be availed, the existence of a valid marriage is not required to avail of maternity leave benefits.

Benefits under CBA vs Philippine law: the more advantageous benefits shall be granted

Nothing in this Act shall be construed as to diminish existing maternity benefits under present laws and collective bargaining agreements.

Check out the Labor Law USC blog for more information about Maternity Leave. Most of the content in this section was taken from their well-written comprehensive article.

This webpage from the Philippine Commission on Women links to RA 7322:

Paternal Leave

Paternity leave refers to the benefits granted to a male employee who is lawfully married. He is allowed to take a leave for 7 days, with full pay, for the first 4 deliveries of his legitimate spouse with whom he is cohabiting.

What are the requirements or steps to Avail of Paternity Benefits?

  1. The employee is lawfully married and is cohabiting with his legitimate wife;
  2. He is employed at the time of his wife’s delivery;
  3. His wife is pregnant, or has delivered a child, or has suffered a miscarriage or abortion;
  4. The employer is notified within reasonable time of the pregnancy and of date of expected delivery (This notice is not required in case of abortion or miscarriage)
  5. It must be within the first four deliveries.

What are the Conditions of the Paternity Leave?

The paternity benefit may be availed of before, during or after delivery, provided that the total number of days does not exceed 7 working days. For example, the employee may take a leave of 2 days before delivery, 1 day during delivery, and another 4 days after delivery.

However, the benefit must be availed of not later than 60 days after date of delivery.

Who furnishes payment, the employer or SSS?

Unlike the maternity leave benefit, the paternity leave benefit of seven (7) days, is for the account of the employer.

Benefits under CBA vs Philippine law: the more advantageous benefits shall be granted

Nothing in this Act shall be construed as to diminish existing paternity benefits under present laws and collective bargaining agreements.

Solo Parent Leave

Lastly, RA 8972 grants parental solo leave of 7 work days with full pay every year. This is in addition to leave privileges under existing laws.

Parental leave for solo parents is granted to any solo parent or individual who is left alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to:

  1. Giving birth as a result of rape or, as used by the law, other crimes against chastity;
  2. Death of spouse;
  3. Spouse is detained or is serving sentence for a criminal conviction for at least one (1) year;
  4. Physical and/or mental incapacity of spouse as certified by a public medical practitioner;
  5. Legal separation or de facto separation from spouse for at least one (1) year: Provided that he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children;
  6. Declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage as decreed by a court or by a church: Provided, that he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children;
  7. Abandonment of spouse for at least one (1) year;
  8. Unmarried father/mother who has preferred to keep and rear his/her child/children, instead of having others care for them or give them up to a welfare institution;
  9. Any other person who solely provides parental care and support to a child or children: Provided, that he/she is duly licensed as a foster parent by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or duly appointed legal guardian by the court; and
  10. Any family member who assumes the responsibility of head of family as a result of the death, abandonment, disappearance, or prolonged absence of the parents or solo parent: Provided, that such abandonment, disappearance, or prolonged absence lasts for at least one (1) year.

“In order to be entitled to the leave, a solo parent employee should have rendered at least 1 year of service, whether continuous or broken. In addition, the employee should notify his or her employer that he or she will avail of the leave within a reasonable period of time. Finally, the solo parent employee must present to the employer his or her Solo Parent Identification Card. Such card may be obtained from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) located in the city where the employee resides.”

Thanks to NDVLaw and their thorough article on Solo Parent leave.

Conclusion

There are many rights granted by the law for the benefit of pregnant women, as well as for expectant fathers and solo parents. The HR must be familiar with these laws in order to guide its covered employees, and help them raise their family in the most ideal conditions possible. For other concerns, please approach your company’s HR or Legal team for more information.

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