The government of the Philippines passed a law expanding the maternity leave period from 60 days to 105 days, effective 8 March 2019. The extended period is fully paid for all female workers, regardless of their civil status.
Previously, maternity leave was 60 days for natural delivery or miscarriage and 78 days for caesarean delivery. The increased maternity benefit applies to all female employees regardless of whether they gave birth via caesarian or natural delivery. However, in cases of miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy, female employees are still only entitled to 60 days maternity leave with full pay.
Maternity leave can be taken both prenatal and postnatal, but the postnatal leave period must be a minimum of 60 days in length. An additional 15 days with full pay are granted for single mothers. All mothers also have the option to extend their leave for an additional 30 days without pay. In addition, a female employee may allocate up to 7 days of her maternity leave to the child’s father (or any caregiver if the father passed away) so long as a written notice is provided to the employer.
Maternity leave is fully paid jointly by the employer and the government. In the case of a maternity leave application, employers must transmit the request to the Social Security System (SSS) and provide the female employee full advanced payment within 30 days of the commencement of the leave period. Upon receipt of legal proof of payment, the SSS reimburses the employer up to a monthly salary credit ceiling of PHP 16,000 for female employees. Private sector employers must pay the salary differential between the amount received from the SSS and the female employee’s regular wages for the entire duration of the maternity leave.
Employers should ensure compliance with the new change. Employers, managers, directors or partners who fail to extend the maternity leave period will be subject to a fine between PHP 20,000 and PHP 200,000, or 6-12 years imprisonment or both. Failure to comply shall also be a ground for non-renewal of business permits.