By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Lawmakers expressed support today to a bill granting a 10-day bereavement leave with full pay to all employees in the private and public sectors.
Deputy Speaker and Capiz Rep. Fredenil Castro and AKO BICOL party-list Rep. Rodel Batocabe rallied behind the passage of a measure, which recognizes that the death of an immediate family member bears a significant emotional and psychological burden upon a family member.
“I support the bill. They (employees) are not productive unless they shall have regained their equanimity,” Castro said.
“They also have to make certain adjustments in their routine and management of daily lives,” he said.
For his part, Batocabe said, “It is about time that we also recognize time for bereavement especially for the loss of a loved one.”
But, he proposed that the number of bereavement leaves be reduced to five to attend both to the needs of the employees and employers.
“We have to limit this to five days and for immediate members only within the second degree of consanguinity and/ or affinity since such measure will also have a drastic effect on businesses. As such, we have to strike a balance between the need of an employee to grieve on the loss of a loved one and the right also of the employers,” he said.
Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte, who authored House Bill 6043 or the proposed Bereavement Leave Act of 2017 said a bereavement leave benefit system should be institutionalized to support employees in the public and private sectors who recently lost relatives belonging to their immediate family.
The bill is now pending in the House Committees on Labor and Employment and on Civil Service and Professional Regulation.
North Cotabato Rep. Nancy Catamco, Manila Rep. John Marvin “Yul Servo” Nieto and Bulacan Rep. Jose Antonio Sy- Alvarado have signed as co-authors of HB 6043.
Villafuerte laments that the discretion to grant employees the space to grieve and recover from the loss lies solely on the employer who may or may not permit them.
“This scenario contradicts the State policy to provide employees with humane working conditions that foster their productivity and maintain their dignity, ” Villafuerte, vice chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations, said.
House Bill 6043 provides that employees in the private and public sectors shall be entitled to a bereavement leave of 10 days with full pay following the death of an employee’s immediate family member.
Under the bill, employees who avail of bereavement leave shall be assured of the security of tenure.
“Availment of the leave shall not be used as a reason for misconduct, demotion, or termination in employment, or for any form of unsatisfactory performance, ” according to the bill.
Violators of the proposed Bereavement Leave Act of 2017 shall pay a fine amounting to P20,000 or face a penalty of imprisonment from 15 days to one month.
The bill tasks the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) to issue the necessary rules and regulations for the implementation of the proposed Act.