MANILA (Mabuhay) — Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago has filed a bill extending paternity leave from seven to 21 days with full pay to give the husband more time to care for his child and aid in his wife’s recovery.
Under her Senate Bill 2289, Santiago proposed to amend Section 2 and 3 of the Republic Act 8187 otherwise known as the Paternity Leave Act of 1996.
Santiago said every married employee in the private and public sectors shall be entitled to extended 21-day paternity leave with full pay not only for the first four deliveries but “all deliveries” of the legitimate spouse whom he is cohabiting.
”The additional leave given to the husband is also crucial in case the mother experiences sudden and unpredictable complications that would render her incapable of taking care of her baby during that period,” Santiago explained.
Santiago said the husband granted with 21-day paternity leave will continue to earn compensation “on condition that his spouse has delivered a child or suffered a miscarriage.”
In the Philippines, a 60-day maternity leave with full pay is given to a female employee who has given birth or has suffered miscarriage.
”It takes six weeks or 42 days for a woman to recover almost fully from childbirth,” she said.
A research paper entitled “Factors Affecting Maternal Health Utilization in the Philippines” published by the National Statistics Office, reported that although most women do not experience major problems during labor and delivery, complications that do occur can be unpredictable and sudden.
The study also claimed that “a number of the problems women experience surrounding childbirth occur in the postpartum period, the six weeks following delivery.”
”Thus, apart from the need to improve health care services and programs in the country, it is also necessary to increase the husband’s participation in aiding his wife during and after delivery,” Santiago said.
The Philippines is one of the few countries in Asia and the Pacific that offer paternity leave.
Another country is South Korea that allows both parents partially paid parental leave for up to one year while Australia and Japan offer long periods of parental leave, though such are unpaid. (MNS)