[On 20 February 2019, President Rodrigo R. Duterte signed the 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law (Republic Act No. 11210, An Act Increasing the Maternity Leave Period to One Hundred Five  Days for Female Workers with an Option to Extend for an Additional Thirty  Days Without Pay, and Granting an Additional Fifteen  Days for Solo Mothers, and for Other Purposes). R.A. 111210 is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 1305 and House Bill No. 4113.]
What is the COVERAGE of the new law?
The 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law (R.A. 11210) covers female workers:
1. Female worker in the government service, regardless of employment status in National Government Agencies (NGAs), Local Government Units (LGUs), Government-Owned or Controlled Corporations (GOCCs), or State Universities and College (SUCs)
2. Female workers in the private sector.
What about female workers in the informal sector?
Female workers in the informal economy are entitled to the benefits of R.A. 11210, provided they have remitted to the Social Security System (SSS) at least three (3) monthly contributions in the 12-month period immediately preceding the semester of her childbirth, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy.
What about female workers who are non-members of the SSS?
Female workers who are neither voluntary nor regular members of the SSS shall be governed by the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) Circular No. 022-2014 or the “Social Health Insurance Coverage and Benefits for Women About to Give Birth”.
What is the period of maternity leave?
Paid leave: One Hundred Five (105) days maternity leave, with full pay, regardless of whether she gave birth via caesarian section or natural delivery.
Additional paid leave for Solo Parents: A worker who qualifies as a solo parent under Republic Act No. 8972, or the “Solo Parents’ Welfare”, the worker shall be granted an additional fifteen (15) days maternity leave, with full pay, regardless of whether she gave birth via caesarian section or natural delivery.
Optional leave: Additional Thirty (30) days, without pay, at the option of the employee.
Miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy: Sixty (60) days maternity leave, with full pay.
For national athletes: She shall continue receiving her allowance and be entitled to the same benefits while on maternity leave prior to childbirth and up to six (6) months after, unless she can resume sooner as advised by her physician.
Can the female worker allocate a portion of the leave credits to someone else?
Yes. The female worker may allocate (or “donate” in common parlance) up to 7 days of maternity leave, subject to the following rules:
1. A female worker entitled to maternity leave benefits may, at her option, allocate up to seven (7) days of said benefits to the child’s father, whether or not the father is married to the female worker. This benefit is over and above that which is provided under Republic Act No. 8187, or the “Paternity Leave Act of 1996.”
2. In the death, absence, or incapacity of the father of the child, the benefit may be allocated to an alternate caregiver who may be a relative within the fourth degree of consanguinity or the current partner of the female worker sharing the same household, upon the election of the mother taking into account the best interest of the child.
3. In the event the beneficiary female worker dies or is permanently incapacitated, the balance of her maternity leave benefits shall accrue to the father of the child or to a qualified caregiver.
4. A written notice of the allocation must be provided to the employers of the female worker and the father/alternate caregiver.
Is there a limit to the number of pregnancies covered?
None. Maternity leave shall be granted to female workers in every instance of pregnancy, miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy, regardless of frequency.
Does the law require that the pregnant women is MARRIED?
No. The new law expressly provides that all covered female workers, regardless of their civil status (married or unmarried), shall be granted maternity leave. Given the language of the law, even pregnancy from certain relationships (in bigamy, adultery, or concubinage) are covered by the benefits.
May the pregnant woman avail of the benefits BEFORE giving birth?
Yes. The maternity leave can be credited as combinations of prenatal and postnatal leave as long as:
1. The total leave does not exceed one hundred five (105) days; and
2. Compulsory postnatal leave shall not be less than sixty (60) days.
Can the employee defer the use of maternity leave?
No. Enjoyment of maternity leave cannot be deferred but should be availed of either before or after the actual period of delivery in a continuous and uninterrupted manner, not exceeding one hundred five (105) days, as the case may be.
What if a company provides for better benefits?
The new law provides for non-diminution of benefits. Nothing in R.A. 11210 shall be construed as to diminish existing maternity benefits currently enjoyed whether or not these are granted under collective bargaining agreements (CBA) or present laws, if the same are more beneficial to the female worker.
Can the employer provide for alternative working arrangements during the additional maternity leave period?
Yes. Any other working arrangement during the additional maternity leave period shall be allowed, provided that:
1. The female worker consents in writing to the arrangement; and
2. The arrangement shall primarily uphold her maternal functions and the requirements of postnatal care.
If there is a pending administrative case against a female worker, is she entitled to maternity leave benefits?
Yes. The maternity leave benefits granted under R.A. 11210 shall be enjoyed by a female worker, whether in the government service and in the private sector, even if she has a pending administrative case.
If a female worker is terminated from work, can she avail of the maternity leave benefits?
Maternity leave with full pay shall be granted even if the childbirth, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy occurs not more than fifteen (15) calendar days after the termination of an employee’s service, as her right thereto has already accrued.
However, the 15-day period is not applicable when the employment of the pregnant woman worker has been terminated without just cause, in which case the employer will pay her the full amount equivalent to her salary for one hundred five (105) days for childbirth and sixty (60) days for miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy based on her full pay, in addition to the other applicable daily cash maternity benefits that she should have received had her employment not been illegally terminated.
Security of tenure
Those who avail of the maternity leave benefits, whether in the government service or private sector, shall be assured of security of tenure. As such, the exercise of this option by them shall not be used as basis for demotion in employment or termination.
The transfer to a parallel position or reassignment from one organizational unit to another in the same agency or private enterprise shall be allowed, provided that it does not involve a reduction in rank, status, salary, or otherwise amount constructive dismissal.
What if an employer refuses to hire women because of the expanded maternity leave benefits?
R.A. 11210 explicitly provides that no employer whether in the public or private sector shall discriminate against the employment of women in order to avoid the provided benefits. The law also provides that whoever fails or refuses to comply with its provisions shall be punished by a fine of not less than P20,000.00 nor more than P200,000.00, and imprisonment of not less than six (6) years and one (1) day nor more than twelve (12) years or both.
What is the penalty for violation of R.A. 11210?
Whoever fails or refuses to comply with its provisions shall be punished by a fine of not less than P20,000.00 nor more than P200,000.00, and imprisonment of not less than six (6) years and one (1) day nor more than twelve (12) years or both.
If the act or omission is committed by an association, partnership, corporation, or any other institution, its managing head, directors, or partners shall be liable to the penalties.
Failure on the part of any association, partnership, corporation, or private enterprise to comply with the provisions of this Act shall be a ground for non-renewal of business permits.