By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Deputy Speaker and AAMBIS-OWA Party-list Rep. Sharon Garin sought on Thursday the immediate drafting and implementation of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the 105-day Expanded Maternity Leave Law, citing that it is a “gift” to all hardworking Filipino mothers, as the nation celebrates the International Women’s Month.
The co-author of Republic Act 11210 or the EML cited that the new law will empower mothers and usher a new generation of healthier and productive Filipinos.
“The enactment of the expanded maternity leave proves that the country remains to be a global leader in promoting the rights of women and children. This victory is a gift to all hardworking mothers as we celebrate International Women’s Month,” Garin said.
The House leader sought the urgent drafting of the IRR of the law.
“The drafting of the implementing rules and regulations must be given priority. Women have long waited and championed for this measure and it cannot be delayed any further,” she said.
Tasked to promulgate the IRR within 60 days are the Civil Service Commission (CSC), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the Social Security System (SSS).
Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III earlier said stakeholders from the government, labor, and management sectors will convene in early March to draft the IRR.
Under the new law, female employees working in the government and the private sector are now entitled to 105 days of paid leave, with additional 15 days for solo parents, and an option to extend the period for 30 days without pay, regardless of the nature of birth. Mothers also have the option to transfer seven of the 105 days of paid maternity leave to fathers, thereby extending the current seven-day paternity leave to 14 days. The maternity benefits provided by the law will also apply in every instance of pregnancy, miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy regardless of frequency.
“The pressure of having to choose between keeping a job to provide for the family and giving the newborn the proper nourishment can be mentally and physically straining for mothers. The EML law also aims to protect the physical and mental health of both mother and newborn by limiting the constraints they are both subjected to,” Garin said.
She said the EML law would supplement Republic Act 11148 or the First 1000 Day Act, which aims to scale down undernutrition among newborns, infants, and young children by providing quality healthcare in the first 1,000 days of life.
According to the National Nutrition Council (NNC), the first 1,000 days is “a critical window of time that sets the stage for a person’s intellectual development and lifelong health.”