WHILE they welcomed the expanded maternity law, which aimed to create a healthy labor force, business owners raised the issue of productivity that may affect business operations.
“This will definitely affect productivity in the workplace but we understand the needs at home and especially for single mothers. We will need to adjust to this new law and most likely require better planning with would-be mothers,” said Jonathan Jay Aldeguer, president of The Islands Group.
Rey Calooy, president of the Filipino-Cebuano Business Club Inc., said they supported the expanded maternity law, adding that a healthy child was more important than business.
“Our priority is raising our children more than raising our business. In fact, in our company, we allow mothers to bring their babies to the workplace,” said Calooy, adding that would-be mothers didn’t give birth at the same time.
Calooy said a mother became more productive at work when she was given enough bonding time with her newborn child.
President Rodrigo Duterte signed into law the measure expanding employed women’s maternity leave to 105 days from the current 60 days.
READ: Duterte signs into law expanded maternity leave
This was confirmed by former special assistant to the president Christopher Lawrence Go in a text message sent to Palace reporters on Thursday, Feb. 21.
“[Duterte] has just signed the Expanded Maternity Leave bill into law,” Go said. “Indeed, this new law ensures expectant working mothers enough time to ensure the best possible conditions for a healthy delivery.”
Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea said the President signed the measure into law on Wednesday, Feb. 20.
The Palace has yet to release a copy of the newly signed law.
Sought for reaction, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said he was confident that employers would understand that working mothers deserved the expanded maternity leave.
“’Yung dagdag ng maternity leave and benefits, that will only lessen the profit. Eh ang laki naman talaga ng profit ng employers (Additional maternity leave and benefits will only lessen the profit. Employers have big profits). That should be their social service,” Panelo said.
“Ang mga Filipino (The Filipinos are) family-oriented. These industrialists, businessmen will understand,” he added.
The final version of the measure granting additional maternity leave benefits to working mothers was approved by a congressional bicameral conference committee in October 2018.
Prior to the enactment of this law, women workers were entitled to 60 days of paid leave for normal delivery and 78 days for cesarean delivery.
Business owners found guilty of violating this law will be penalized P20,000. (KOC, SunStar Philippines)