21 February 2019—President Rodrigo Duterte has already signed the Expanded Maternity Leave Act into a law.
The law guarantees 105 paid maternity leave credits, with 7 days transferrable to fathers. This is in additional to the 7-day paid paternity leave in accordance with the 1996 Paternity Leave Act. Employees also have the option to extend their leaves for 30 days without pay. Meanwhile, additional 15 days will be granted to single moms.
Under the previous law, working moms are only entitled to a 60-day paid maternity leave for normal delivery and 78 days for Caesarian section.
World Vision, a child-focused international organization, sees this as a huge development. "The passage of the expanded maternity leave act protects and promotes the rights of women and it is a first step towards gender equity. It allows parents to share the responsibility of providing child care while they continue to perform in their chosen career paths," shares Carleneth San Valentin, World Vision's Health and Nutrition Technical Manager.
Breastfeeding advocates also regard the passage of the Expanded Maternity Leave Law as a great opportunity for moms to practice exclusive breastfeeding, as recommended by the World Health Organization and the Department of Health.