By SHERWIN DE VERA
BAGUIO CITY — A pioneering women’s rights and welfare institution in the city hailed the passing of House Bill No. 4113 that seeks to give 100 days of paid maternity leave to workers in private and public establishments as a “victory to the women’s movement”.
The Cordillera Women’s Education and Action Research Center (CWEARC) welcomed the House of Representative’s action noting that “it is about time that women get this privilege.”
“The previous 60 days maternity leave is not enough for women to take care of their baby and recover from their pregnancy and giving birth,” explained its executive director, Cynthia Jaramillo.
She expressed hope the final document will adopt the senate version asking for 120 days of paid leave for the mother and a 30 day paternity leave.
“At present, paternity leave is only seven days. This needs to be extended to allow the husband to assists with his wife’s recovery by sharing the task of taking care of the new born,” Jaramillo added.
On Tuesday, September 4, the Lower House voted 19-0-0 to pass the measure on its third and final reading.
In a statement, Act Teachers’ Partylist Antonio Tinio, who supported the bill, together with other Makabayan Bloc representatives said the approval of the bill is “long overdue” noting that eighty percent of the sector they represent are women.
“A longer maternity leave is a constant concern in our public consultations. With a short time for maternity leave for teachers, the health and welfare of the newborn and the nursing mother and the quality of education for their students may suffer,” he said.
Meanwhile, Representative Arlene Brosas of Gabriela Women’s Partylist, the main author of the legislation, called the HoR’s approval “historic.”
“This is the first time the expanded maternity leave bill hurdles all the stages since we filed the measures ten years ago,” narrates Brosas.
She said their group will push for the upper limit of maternity leave period to 120 days in the bicameral conference committee, similar to what is contained in HB 1046, the original maternity leave bill and in the Senate’s approved version.
Gabriela said an estimated 15 million female workers in the government and private sector will benefit from the measure. # nordis.net