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The Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development chaired by Senator Joel Villanueva tackled on Wednesday proposed measures providing additional leave benefits to workers in private and public institutions. “We have introduced measures granting leave benefits primarily to promote work-life balance. We believe that our people should be able to work and remain available to be there for their families whenever necessary. Hindi po dapat maging option ang mag-resign sa trabaho para lang magampanan ang tungkulin sa pamilya. Bigyan natin ng legal na options ang ating mga manggagawa." Villanueva said.

Ecop opposes bills on workers’ leaves

The Employers Confederation of the Philippines (Ecop) has opposed the enactment of 10 Senate bills proposing new employee leaves and or increasing existing ones.

Ecop’s position emphasizes “that any further reduction in the number of working days through additional leaves would have a critical impact not only on productivity but also on cost of doing business.”

“For business, additional non-working days mean days off from work. Excessive non-working days would hamper operations and production especially for the manufacturing and service sectors,” the group said in a statement.

If, however, an employer will require its workers to report to work on such days, it increases the cost of services and production as the employer who is obliged to pay his worker full pay for the day/s not worked would also be obliged to pat an additional 30 per cent of the daily rate of 100 per cent for the first eight hours of work.

“All the Bills prescribing new paid leaves or increasing existing ones make no distinction with regard to the size of establishments, whether micro, small, medium or large, except for the service incentive leave which existing law exclude micro establishments while at the same grant the Secretary of Labor and Employment the power to exempt establishments from coverage after considering the viability or financial condition of such establishments.

“We are greatly concerned that any further reduction in the number of working days particularly through additional leaves impacts not only on productivity and on the cost of doing business, but also on the viability of micro and small enterprises which constitute over 99 per cent of all registered enterprises,” it said.

“Aside from non-working national regular as well as special holidays, there are also other days off from work such as the paid leave benefits that a company may provide to its employees. there are also those cancelled or suspended workdays brought about by calamities,” Ecop added.

The Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resources Development chaired by Senator Joel Villanueva discussed the measures providing additional leave benefits to workers in private and public institutions.

Among the bills discussed were Senate Bill No. 1064 or the Parental Leave Act of 2016 filed by Villanueva which seeks to grant 15 working day parental leaves every year; and Senate Bill No. 360 which seeks to extend the application of parental leave, to a person other than the parents, who takes care of the child.

Under the proposal, at least 2 working days for each minor child but shall not exceed 10 working days shall be given for each parent or legal guardian.

“I believe that the introduction of parental leave to both fathers and mothers will promote gender equality, and I know that we all agree that fathers also have caring responsibilities. Magkatuwang po talaga dapat ang mag-asawa sa pagpapalaki ng kanilang mga anak,” Villanueva said.

Senate Bill Nos. 963, 1063 and 1209 seek to provide a paternity leave equal to 30 working days for the first four deliveries of legitimate or common-law spouse to every male employee, regardless of employment status, married, or common-law relationship.

According to Villanueva, he believes that a father also has a role in child-rearing and deserves to be granted paid leaves.

“Hindi po ba dapat kasama rin at naroon physically ang tatay kapag may bagong silang na sanggol sa pamilya? Studies have shown that an early interaction between father and child has longer-term positive impact on the child’s learning abilities,” the senator added.

Meanwhile, Senate Bill Nos. 362 and 398 seek to grant working women in the private sector and public service to a one-day paid pre-natal leave every month from filing of notice of pregnancy until delivery, abortion or miscarriage. This is to ensure the safety and health of both mother and child.

These proposals by Senators Binay and Legarda are consistent with the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the “Magna Carta of Women”.

Another bill filed by Villanueva is the Service Incentive Bill or Senate Bill No. 1614 which aims to increase the mandatory 5-day service incentive leave under the Labor Code to 10 days.

The senator noted that many employers in the country are already stepping forward and there are private companies that often give vacation and sick leaves to their employees, above the mandatory five-day service incentive leave under the Labor Code.

Other bills tackled by the Labor Committee include Senate Bill No. 854 or the School Visitation Leave by Senator Recto which seeks to grant three (3) days paid leave to employed parents or legal guardians to attend school-related activities; and Senate Bill No. 1387 or the OFW Legitimate Spouse Leave Bill by Senator Ejercito that will give every legitimate spouse-employee of an OFW an additional special leave credit of fifteen (15) days a year with full pay.

“Ang bottomline po nito, ay kinikilala natin na sa labas ng opisina ay tuloy ang buhay ng mga manggagawa. Hindi humihinto ang pagiging magulang nila habang nasa trabaho. Hindi po dapat maging option ang mag-resign sa trabaho para lang magampanan ang tungkulin sa pamilya. Maraming paraan. Bigyan natin ng legal na options ang ating mga manggagawa,” Villanueva said.

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