Extending the Period of Maternity Leave

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?

21 comments

  1. For our law office alone, Atty. Fred? Sadly, only a handful of our women lawyers marry and bear children. For non-legals who are of child-bearing age, there are about 100 of them, and only 1 or two give birth at any given time.

  2. My answer is a yes. Mothers need time to be with the baby to build the bond, to breastfeed she needs to stay at home. I think employers have to promote better living standards and the better conditions offered in a contract is likely to get better quality emploees. Even thought the maternity leave might be long, but overall the company builds an image it cares. What about extending the maternity leave to dads too, but to a shorter duration than that to mom, that’s effective in helping to cope with new borns at home.

  3. Happy fathers day to atty fred and atty sensei…to all the best dads in the world!

    To all lawyer fathers… May the force be with u this day and all the days of ur lives…

  4. in favor. in first world countries, maternity leave lasts as long as two years. I think the reason is obvious. a child needs his mother in the most critical period of his life.

  5. Don t we consider the workforce an asset that needs maintenance- therefore the actual goose that lays the golden eggs? Production wise, yes it is maiming to have women go on a 120 day paid leave. But what the employers are avoiding to acknowledge is the long term effect of granting women this benefit— e.g. less absences due to nanny problems, increase production due to a happy, satisfied employees. It’s time that employers go beyond what they think is ideal for the business— those that guarantee quick almost tangible profits vs increased employee satisfaction or inspiration. Surely the latter is a minute entry forced into business s\textbooks, but to move forward, we need to improve the quality of our people’s family lives. This provision in the constitution is long overdue, what with the many things the woman is expected to do– for her employee, for her children, for her home, her community. How about a choice to come to work for refresher trainings or light work once a week or twice a week, for less than the normal 8hrs while on the 2nd half of the 120 day leave?

  6. You say it right, any money involved will be reimbursed by the government, remember though that it is a BENEFIT of those paying taxholders. It maybe crucial to the workforce but how to think about it, how seldom women get pregnant, in fact, some pregnant women prefers to resign due pregnancy.

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