Today, we celebrate Labor Day. It’s a day set aside to, among others, honor our nation’s workforce, although to many workers, Labor Day has degenerated simply as another item in the list of holidays. This day must be important — the President chose to maintain May 1 on a Thursday, even on the face of the clear provision of the law that Labor Day must be scheduled on a Monday nearest May 1.
Now, even if today is Labor Day, let’s assume for a moment that you’re the owner or manager of a certain business and that at least half of your total workforce consists of women, say 50 woman employees. Let’s also assume that at least 5 (which could be a modest estimate) of these woman employees get pregnant and give birth — all normal deliveries — within the same year. Let’s assume, further, that the work performed by these 5 women employees are crucial and indispensable to the day-to-day operation of your business.
Under the existing law, each of these 5 workers is entitled to a maternity leave, with pay, for a period of sixty (60) calendar days. That’s a total of 300 days, or almost a year. During that time, you’ll have to devise a way to cover the work ordinarily performed by these 5 employees. You add to the load of other employees or hire contractual employees for the duration of the maternity leave. You spend more to pay for the contractual employee, while at the same time paying the salary of the 5 employees (subject to reimbursement by the SSS). You also lose the level of competence and efficiency of these 5 employees with respect to the tasks they’re respectively handling.
Imagine the 60-day maternity leave being extended to 120 days. Right now, House Bill 3973, which is an “act increasing maternity leave benefits from 60 days to 120 days or four months,” is pending in Congress.
If you’re an employer, you’d most probably oppose this bill. On the other hand, if you put yourself in the shoes of those 5 woman employees, you’ll most likely support the bill.
Now, let’s assume that you’re a member of Congress. What’s your vote? And why?