Legislative Update – Maternity Leave Period is Increased to 105 Days for Female Workers
The Expanded Maternity Leave Law was signed on 20 February 20, 2019, and it became effective from 11 March 2019 or 15 days after publication. (It was published in the Official Gazette on 21 February 2019).
I. General Rules and Provisions
- Female workers in the Public Sector
- Female workers in the Private Sector
- Female workers in the Informal Economy
- Female members who are voluntary contributors to the SSS and
- Female national athletes.
Paid leave benefit granted to a qualified female worker in the private sector covered by the SSS, including those in the informal economy, for the duration of the following:
- 105 days for live childbirth, regardless of the mode of delivery or
- 120 days or an additional 15 days paid leave if the female worker qualifies as a solo parent under Republic Act No. 8972, or the “Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000” or
- 60 days paid leave for miscarriage and emergency termination of pregnancy
Employed female workers shall receive full pay which consists of
- SSS maternity benefit computed based on their average daily salary credit and
- Salary differential to be paid by the employer.
The female worker has also an option to extend for an additional 30 days without pay in case of live childbirth, provided that the employer shall be given due notice in writing and must be given at least 45 days before the end of the female worker’s maternity leave. However, no prior notice shall be necessary in the event of medical emergency, but subsequent notice shall be given to the employer.
For female national athletes, benefit granted includes paid maternity leave, allowances and benefits. Furthermore, health care services for pre-natal, delivery, postpartum and pregnancy-related conditions granted to female workers, particularly those who are neither voluntary nor regular members of the SSS are also granted as governed by the existing rules and regulations of the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).
Manner of Enjoyment of the Benefit
Enjoyment of maternity leave cannot be deferred but should be availed of either before or after the actual period of delivery in a continuous and uninterrupted manner, which is 105 days maternity leave with full pay in cases of live childbirth, or 60 days of maternity leave in cases of miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy.
Frequency of the Grant
- Maternity leave shall be granted to a qualified female worker in every instance of pregnancy, miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy regardless of frequency.
- Maternity Leave of a Female Worker with Pending Administrative Case
- Maternity leaves granted shall be enjoyed by a female worker even if she has a pending administrative case.
II. Maternity Leave for Female Workers in the Private Sector
To qualify for the grant of maternity leave benefit, the female worker in a private sector must meet the following requirements:
- Women must have at least three monthly contributions in the twelve-month period immediately preceding the semester of childbirth, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy. In determining the female member’s entitlement to the benefit, the SSS shall consider only those contributions paid prior to the semester of contingency and
- Women shall have notified her employer of her pregnancy and the probable date of her childbirth, which notice shall be transmitted to the SSS.
The notification process for SSS-covered female workers and/or members and employers shall be governed by the following rules:
- The female member, upon confirmation of pregnancy, shall immediately inform her employer of such fact and the expected date of childbirth
- The employer shall, in turn, notify the SSS through the prescribed manner
- The above rules notwithstanding, failure of the pregnant female worker to notify the employer shall not bar her from receiving the maternity benefits, subject to guidelines to be prescribed by the SSS and
- Self-employed female members, including those in the informal economy, OFWs and voluntary SSS members may give notice directly to the SSS.
Amount of Benefit
Covered female workers availing of the maternity leave benefits must receive their full pay which shall be advanced by the employer within 30 days from the filing of the maternity leave application.
In the case of self-employed female members, including those in the informal economy, OFWs and voluntary SSS members, the SSS shall directly pay the maternity benefit.
The SSS shall immediately reimburse to the employer the maternity benefits advanced to the employed
female member only to the extent of 100% of her average daily salary credit for 105 days, 120 days or
60 days, as the case may be, upon receipt of satisfactory and legal proof of such payment.
Salary Differential, Exceptions
Employers from the private sector shall pay for the difference between the full salary and the actual cash benefits received from the SSS. Moreover, female workers employed by exempt establishments which satisfy the criteria set forth, shall not be entitled to salary differential:
- Those operating distressed establishments
- Those establishments and other enterprises employing not more than ten workers
- Those considered as micro-business enterprises and
- Those who are allegedly providing similar or more than benefits under an existing Collective Bargaining Agreement, company practice or policy.
Bar to Recovery of Sickness Benefits
The payment of daily SSS maternity benefits shall be a bar to recovery of sickness benefits provided
under Republic Act No. 11199, for the same period for which daily maternity benefits have been received.
Consecutive Pregnancies and Multiple Childbirths
The payment of the SSS maternity benefits in cases of consecutive pregnancies resulting in overlapping maternity leaves and in cases of multiple childbirths shall be governed by the following rules:
- In case of the overlapping of two maternity benefit claims, the female member shall be granted maternity benefits for the two contingencies in a consecutive manner. However, the amount of benefit corresponding to the period where there is an overlap shall be deducted from the current maternity benefit claim; and
- The female member shall be paid only one maternity benefit, regardless of the number of offspring, per childbirth/delivery.
Liability of the Employer
The employer shall pay to the SSS damages equivalent to the benefits which said female member would otherwise have been entitled to in any of the following instances:
- Failure of employer to remit to the SSS the required contributions for the female worker or
- Failure of the employer to transmit to SSS the female worker’s notification on the fact of pregnancy and probable date of childbirth.
III. Allocation of Maternity Leave Credits
Allocation of leave to the father or alternate caregiver
The female worker entitled to maternity leave benefits may, at her option, allocate up to seven days of said benefits to the child’s father, regardless if they are married or not. The allocated benefit of seven days is over and above that which is provided under the “Paternity Leave Act of 1996”.
In case of death, absence, or incapacity of child’s father, the seven days may be allocated to an alternate caregiver.
Allocation for the SSS-Covered Female Workers
If the female worker avails of the option to allocate, the SSS shall pay her the amount of the maternity benefit corresponding to the period not allocated. The father, or alternate caregiver shall be granted by his employer a leave with pay equivalent to a period of one to seven days, which may be enjoyed either in a continuous or intermittent manner.
The female worker shall notify her employer of her option to allocate with her application for maternity leave. The father or alternate caregiver shall likewise notify the employer of the allocated leave and inclusive dates thereof.
Failure or refusal to comply with the provisions of RA 11210 shall be punished by a fine of not less than 20,000 PHP nor more than 200,000 PHP and imprisonment of not less than six years and one day nor more than 12 years or both.