DOLE launches Expanded Maternity Leave Act IRR

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) formally launched the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Expanded Maternity Leave Act, which grants mothers over 3 months of paid leave.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed the IRR on Wednesday, May 1, on the sidelines of a groundbreaking ceremony for the overseas Filipino workers hospital in San Fernando City, Pampanga.

The signing of the IRR came more than two months after President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11210 or the Expanded Maternity Leave Act last February 22.

What to expect: Under the law, both government and private offices are required to give mothers 105 days or over 3 months of paid maternity leave. It applies to every instance of pregnancy and employers are required to grant it regardless of the mode of delivery, civil status, legitimacy of the child, and employment status.

The IRR provides for the law to also cover female workers in the informal economy sector, national athletes, and those who are voluntary contributors to the Social Security System.

Maternity leaves can also be extended by 30 days without pay.

As for fathers, a total of 7 out of the 105 days of leave may be transferred to them. This would expand fathers' paid paternity leave to 14 days.

Solo working mothers would also get an additional 15 days, for a total of 120 days of paid maternity leave.

Meanwhile, the IRR also provides that in cases of miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy, 60 days of maternity leave with full pay shall be granted to female workers.

Prior to the enactment of the Expanded Maternity Leave Act, mothers were granted 60 days of paid leave for normal delivery and 78 days for cesarean delivery. There was also a 4-pregnancy cap. (READ: TUCP warns employers vs hiring less women over maternity leave law)

Senator Risa Hontiveros, chairperson of the Senate committee on women, hailed the signing of the IRR.

"This law is not only confined to the offices and factories, but also covers the many homes where women do reproductive labor. By including them, the law clearly recognizes the productive and reproductive work of women," Hontiveros said in a statement.

According to Hontiveros, working mothers who gave birth on March 11 or after are entitled to the full benefits of the Expanded Maternity Leave Act. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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