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Senate approves bill increasing maternity leave to 120 days

With 22 affirmative votes, the Senate on Monday passed on third and final reading a proposed bill increasing the number of days of paid maternity leave.

Senate Bill 1305, otherwise known as the proposed Expanded Maternity Leave Law, seeks to increase maternity leave from 60 days to 120 days, and an additional 30 days for solo working mothers.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, sponsor of the measure, earlier  noted that the last time the number of maternity leave was increased was 25 years ago or in 1992.

She said the "new generation bill" seeks to respond to the pre and post-natal health needs of different working women and everyday realities faced by the modern Filipino family.

Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto, for his part, called for the early signing of the measure.

"This bill is past its due date. This should have been delivered a long time ago," Recto said in explaining his yes vote.

"On the macro level, longer maternity leaves do no harm to the economy. On the micro level, longer maternity leaves make both the baby and the mother healthy and happy," he pointed out.

The existing law provides that women workers may take a leave of 60 days with pay equivalent to 100 percent of their basic salary, allowances and other benefits.

For women who undergo caesarian deliveries, they are entitled to take a leave of 78 days with pay. — BM, GMA News