DON’T look now, but lady solons want Congress to hasten the passage of a bill granting 100-day maternity leave with 30-day extension without pay for employees in the government and private sector.
Of course, we agree with the lady lawmakers, headed by Leyte 1st District Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez, that the bill is “very important” considering the rising number of married women in the labor force.
“This would definitely give ample time for mothers to nurture, take care and breastfeed their newborns for the first 100 days,” said Romualdez, a registered nurse and a former Miss Philippines.
Now awaiting approval on second reading in the House of Representatives is a proposed measure, which seeks to lengthen the maternity leave from the current 60 days to 100 days.
Romualdez and DIWA party-list Rep. Emmeline Aglipay-Villar, chair of the House committee on women and gender equality, said they would immediately seek the approval of the bill when Congress resumes session on January 16.
Romualdez is the wife of former Leyte Rep. Martin G. Romualdez, a lawyer and banker by profession, while Villar is a daughter of ex-Philippine National Police chief Director-General Edgar Aglipay.
Deputy Speaker and Batangas Rep. Raneo Abu and Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert “Ace” Barbers have also vowed to work for the early approval of the proposed legislation.
Abu and Barbers said the swift approval of the expanded maternity benefits bill will help many pregnant working mothers not only in the metropolis but elsewhere.
But the question arises: Are the country’s employers ready to support the proposed legislation?
In the view of many, there should be a better reason for them to reject the pro-women measure.