On Monday, in a vote of 22-0, the Senate passed on third and final reading a bill granting working women 120 days maternity leave and 150 days for solo mothers.
Senate Bill 1305 or the Expanded Maternity Leave Act, authored by Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros, seeks to revise Republic Act (RA) 1161 or the Social Security Act of 1997, which currently grants only a 60-day (for normal childbirth) to 78-day (for caesarean) maternity leave for women workers.
Hontiveros, who is the Chairperson of the Committee on Women, said that the last time the number of maternity leave was increased was 25 years ago or in 1992.
"Amid the current climate of misogyny and sexism, the passage of this important measure in the Senate is a clear triumph of women over antiquated thinking and policies," Hontiveros remarked.
"I would like thank Senators Nancy Binay, Loren Legarda, Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara, Francis Pangilinan, Manny Pacquiao, and Antonio Trillanes IV for helping me pass this landmark measure," Hontiveros said.
The Senator however said that the fight is far from over as the measure's counterpart bill in the House of Representatives has yet to be passed. DIWA Partylist Representative and House Women Committee Chair Emmeline Aglipay-Villar is leading the campaign for the passage of the Expanded Maternity Leave in Congress.
Prioritize expanded maternity leave bill, not death penalty
Hontiveros appealed to her congressional colleagues to reciprocate the action of the Senate. She said that the House leadership should prioritize the passage of the Expanded Maternity Leave bill rather than measures that seek to restore the death penalty.
"What the people need are policies that will radically improve their quality of life not laws that will bring death. What the people demand are adequate protections and safeguards that will lead to welfare enhancing outcomes at par with international standards," Hontiveros said.