Bill to increase maternity leave of working mothers

WORKING mothers may soon have more time to breastfeed their newborns without fear of being terminated from their jobs.

Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga) and her son Rep. Diosdado (2nd District, Camarines Sur) filed House Bill 6128 increasing the maternity leave of working mothers from 60 days to 120

The bill also provides additional and optional 60 days or eight weeks to allow mothers to breastfeed their child for at least six months which is in accordance with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Health Organization (WHO) standards.

The bill seeks to amend Section 1, Article 133 of Presidential Decree (P.D.) 442, as amended by Republic Act 7322.

“This will give mother and child quality time for bonding while at the same time ensures the child’s proper growth and development,” Arroyo said.

Arroyo said the Philippines is in the 86th position on the latest UNICEF survey report on the morality rates of 190 countries.

Arroyo said based on the under-five mortality rate, about 32 Filipino children out of 1,000 live births die before the age of five.

“The report also cited several recommendations to reduce our country’s mortality rate, one of which is the access to exclusive breastfeeding for a long period of time,” Arroyo said.

The measure states that every employer shall grant to any pregnant female employee, who has rendered an aggregate service of at least six months for the last 12 months, maternity leave of at least two weeks
prior to the expected date of delivery and another 14 weeks after normal or caesarian delivery with full pay based on her regular or average weekly wages.

It further provides that an additional and optional maternity leave of eight weeks shall be granted any concerned pregnant female employee with either full pay, half pay or no pay. In case the concerned
pregnant female employee opts to take the additional and optional maternity leave, she is assured of security of tenure and such shall not be used as basis for termination from employment.

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