By Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns
SALINLAHI Alliance for Children’s Concerns salutes Gabriela Women’s Partylist who led women’s groups, individuals and institutions in persevering for the signing of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Expanded Maternity Leave Law after the Expanded Maternity Law was passed.
The IRR was signed last May 1, 2019, which is a culmination of years of lobbying and struggle to give women workers proper recognition of their roles in our country’s economy.
As child rights advocates, we believe that the enactment of the Expanded Maternity Leave Law and the consequent signing of its IRR will benefit the Filipino children and their mothers.
One major benefit the law would bring to working women is the adequate period for mothers to recover and care for their newborn babies.
Studies reveal that paid parental leave can reduce infant mortality by 10 percent and can also increase the rate and duration of breastfeeding.
Breastfed babies have lower risks of having asthma, obesity, and sudden infant death syndrome, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. While mothers who breastfeed are less likely to get breast and ovarian cancer.
The new law will also ensure a better connection between mothers and infants which is very important at the early stage of infant’s development.
The additional paid leaves will also benefit the mental health of the mothers.
According to the study Family Leave After Child and the Mental Health of New Mothers by Pinka Chatterji and Sara Markowitz, women who took longer than 12 weeks (60 days) maternity leave reported fewer depressive symptom, a reduction in severe depression and improvement in their overall mental health.
This will better prepare them for their return in their jobs.
The expanded maternity leave law also extends the paternal paid leave to 15 days, from its original seven days paid leave. This encourages increased male involvement in child rearing and is highly beneficial for Filipino families.
Now that the IRR is signed, Salinlahi call for the full implementation of the law to ensure the benefits for working women and their families. Salinlahi also hopes that contractual workers would also benefit from this new law.
Women’s organizations, workers and institutions should be vigilant to ensure the implementation of the law for all working mothers.