By Erma Edera
The implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Expanded Maternity Law (EML) may be issued by May this year, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said following the action of various women’s groups welcoming the newly-signed law.
Bello said that he will also direct the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC), specifically Director Karina Perida-Trayvilla, to help the labor department in drafting the IRR in less than the prescribed days.
“In fact, I talked to Trayvilla if we can do it in 45 to 60 days,” he said.
The hearings for the drafting of the IRR will begin in early March. Bello said he will meet other stakeholders from the labor, government, and management sectors.
“We will convene for the purpose of formulating the IRR… By early next month, we will convene,” Bello said.
He also disagreed with concerns that the new law will make women less employable.
“Employers should have a positive position because this expanded maternity leave addresses the health of the employee. There is just initial resistance because it’s something new,” he said.
Aside from DOLE, the Civil Ser¬vice Commission (CSC) and Social Security System (SSS) were also mandated by the law to craft the IRR.
President Duterte signed into law the Expanded Maternity Leave mea¬sure on Feb. 20.
The new law provides 105 days of paid maternity leave to all working mothers and an additional 15 days to solo mothers.
Mothers will also have the option to extend for an additional 30 days of unpaid leave.
The maternity benefits will apply to every instance of pregnancy, miscar¬riage, or emergency termination of pregnancy regardless of frequency.
The law also includes a provision allow¬ing the allocation of seven maternity leave days to fathers, raising the paternity leave to 14 days from the current seven days.
Prior to the enactment of the law, women are allowed only 60 days of paid maternity leave.