Everyone needs to know their rights and the importance of the law to have a peaceful life, especially the Filipino female workers, as the welfare of every Filipino newborn child primarily depends on them. However, not all people know their rights and what laws they need to follow.
Things to Know About SSS Maternity Benefits
This article will discuss things you should know about the new law, the 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave (EML) Law, or the Republic Act No. 11210. This law increases the Leave period of female workers to one hundred five (105) days. Female workers can also extend for thirty (30) days without pay and grant fifteen (15) days for solo mothers and other purposes.
Maybe some female workers know little information about Maternity Leave Benefits but not in detail. Perhaps some of you have questions about availing of the Maternity Leave Benefit but don’t have time to visit the SSS branch near you.
Grant of Maternity Leave Benefits (Rule IV)
Female SSS members shall be granted one hundred five (105) days maternity leave with full pay regardless of civil status, employment status, and whether the child is legitimate or illegitimate.
Female workers who had a miscarriage and emergency termination of pregnancy shall be granted sixty (60) days paid leave.
Suppose the female member qualifies as a solo parent under Republic Act No. 8972, also known as the “Solo Parents’ Welfare act of 2000”. She can avail herself of an additional fifteen (15) days of paid leave.
Manner of Enjoyment of the Benefit
Avoid delaying the filing for the female worker to use the Maternity Leave Benefit. Avail of the one hundred five (105) days Maternity Leave Benefit should be before or after the actual period of delivery.
If the female SSS member goes through live childbirth, she shall have one hundred five (105) days maternity leave with full pay.
While a female SSS member who suffers from miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy, including stillbirths, shall be granted sixty (60) days maternity leave.
Miscarriage. If the baby has died before the 20th week of gestation.
Emergency termination of pregnancy. Pregnancy loss or loss of a baby on or after the 20th week of gestation, including stillbirth.
Stillbirth. If the baby has died in the womb before or right after the delivery.
Meaning you can’t divide the one hundred five (105) days and use it at separate or different times.
If the baby dies shortly after the delivery, the female worker can still use the one hundred five (105) days of maternity leave with full pay.
Extended Maternity Leave
Female SSS members who went through live childbirth have an option to extend their leave for an additional thirty (30) days without pay. They can avail of the extension provided the employer gives due notice.
If the female worker wishes to extend her maternity leave, she must submit a written due notice or prior notice to her employer. Give the notice to the employer forty-five (45) days before the end of the female worker’s maternity leave.
Prior notification is required to inform the head’s office or agency of the necessary preparation for the extended leave of absence. Furthermore, the approval of the extended break will be an administrative decision on the part of the head’s office or agency.
However, if a sudden medical emergency to the female worker, no prior notice will be necessary but a subsequent statement.
Frequency of the Grant
Regardless of the frequency of pregnancy, a qualified female worker shall be granted Maternity Leave Benefits in every case of pregnancy, whether live childbirth, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy.
For example, suppose a female worker suffers from a miscarriage, and they granted her sixty (60) days maternity leave benefit.
Maternity Leave Benefits after Termination from Employment
The Maternity leave benefits can also be applied even after the employment termination of a female worker. However, she shall be granted Maternity leave benefits if the childbirth, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy occurs not more than fifteen (15) calendar days after the termination of the female worker from service.
However, the fifteen (15) calendar day period is not applicable if they terminate a female worker without a just cause.
Just cause — a justifiable and lawful ground for action.
In such circumstances, where they terminate the female worker without cause, the employer must pay the total amount equivalent to her salary. The female worker should receive her total compensation for one hundred five (105) days for childbirth and sixty (60) days for miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy based on her full pay.
Maternity Leave Benefit for a Female Worker with Pending Administrative Case
If a female worker in the private and public sectors has a pending administrative case, she can also avail of the maternity leave with full pay. No female worker shall be barred from getting the Maternity Leave Benefit even if she has a pending administrative case.
Non-Diminution of Benefits
The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the Republic Act (R.A.) No. 11210, nothing is stated to lessen the existing maternity benefits given to the female worker.
Whether or not these current benefits are granted under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) or present laws if the benefit is more favorable to the female worker. The female member must complete the one hundred five (105) days Maternity Leave benefits for live childbirth and sixty (60) days for the female who underwent miscarriage or emergency pregnancy termination.
What is Collective Bargaining Agreement? According to the Bureau of Labor Relations, a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is a contract accomplished upon the employer’s request or the employees’ exclusive bargaining representative consolidating the agreement reached after negotiations concerning wages, work hours, and all other terms and context of employment.
Moreover, as mentioned above, a female worker who underwent live childbirth has an option to extend her maternity leave and be allowed to any other working arrangement to which the female worker shall agree. However, the employer shall be given written consent by the female worker and ensure that the extension will promote maternal functions and the requirements of postnatal care.
Security of Tenure
Whether in the public or private sector, every female worker should assure who avails of the Maternity Leave Benefit of the security of tenure.
What is the Security of Tenure?
Source: Bureau of Labor Relations – Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)
From Book VI – Post Employment under Title 1 – Termination of Employment.
Art. 279. Security of tenure. In cases of regular employment, the employer can only terminate the services of an employee with a just cause or when authorized by this Title.
An unjustly dismissed employee must be entitled to reappointment from work. They should also compensate him without losing privileges and his full back pay. Furthermore, his allowance and other benefits must be equivalent to his compensation from the time they withheld it up until the time of his actual reappointment.
Availment of the Maternity Leave Benefit should not be used as a basis to demote a female worker from employment and termination of service.
However, the employer can transfer the female worker to an equivalent position or reassign from one organizational unit to another agency or private enterprise. As stated from constructive dismissal, the employer shall not lower the female worker’s rank, status, or salary.
Constructive Dismissal. According to Labor Law, Constructive dismissal refers to an involuntary resignation or forced to resign because of the job affected by some circumstances like:
- When an employee continues his employment, but the situation becomes impossible, unreasonable, or unlikely
- when there is a demotion from a position or a decrease in salary
- When an employee can’t bear the discrimination, disinterest, and dislike by an employer anymore
- an unreasonable transfer or demotion of an employee
- other unjustified action unfavorable to the employee.
The employer must prove that such managerial measures do not constitute constructive dismissal.
Whether the female worker is in the private or public sector, no employer shall discriminate against women’s employment to avoid the benefits provided for in this Rules.
Former Presidential Spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte Atty. Salvador Panelo warns employers, associations, partnerships, corporations, or any other institution that they will hold responsible if they decline to hire women to evade the forthcoming circumstances regarding the new law, the Maternity Leave Law.
Maternity Leave Credits Allocation (Rule VIII)
A female worker who avails of Maternity Leave Benefits has an option to allocate up to seven (7) days of said benefits to the child’s father whether or not married to the female worker.
Furthermore, the female worker may allocate to an alternate caregiver in case of death, absence, or incapacity of the child’s father.
In selecting the alternate caregiver, the female worker should consider the person’s best interests of the child. The candidates for alternate caregivers must be:
- A relative within the fourth degree of consanguinity or someone related to the female employee by blood, such as parents, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchild, uncle, aunt, nephews, nieces, and first cousins.
- the current partner of the female worker living in the same household, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity
They cannot allocate the maternity leave benefit if the female worker suffers a miscarriage or emergency pregnancy termination.
The female worker shall receive or be paid by the SSS with an amount equivalent to the period not allocated if the female worker avails of the option to give.
In case the child’s father won’t be able to use the allocation due to death, absence, or incapacity, the alternate caregiver shall be granted by his employer the amount of the maternity benefit equivalent to one (1) to (7) days.
A notice should be submitted along with her maternity leave application to file for the allocation of benefits. Furthermore, the child’s father or the alternate caregiver should notify his employer regarding the dates and availment of the Maternity Allocation. The written notice is also applicable to the female worker in the public sector.
Moreover, if the female worker has already collected the total amount of her maternity benefit, the child’s father or the alternate caregiver shall enjoy or use the remaining unexpired leave credits without pay.