Paternity leave in the Philippines is a benefit granted to married male employees in both the public and private sectors for the first four deliveries of the legitimate spouse with whom he is cohabiting. The Paternity Leave Law or Republic Act 8187 mandates a 7-day paternity leave for male employees who are married and have a legitimate child.
In addition, under the 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law (RA 11210), paternity leave can be extended by transferring up to 7 days of maternity leave credits from the mother to the father. This can increase the total paternity leave to 14 days. However, this option is only available if the mother is a private sector employee.
In this article, we will know more about the paternity leave benefit in the country.
What is the Objective of Paternity Leave?
The objective of paternity leave in the Philippines is to provide fathers with sufficient time to bond with their newborn children and support their partners during pregnancy and childbirth. Paternity leave is also intended to promote gender equality in the workplace and encourage fathers to actively participate in parenting and childcare responsibilities. By providing fathers with paternity leave, the government hopes to improve the health and well-being of mothers and children and build stronger, more supportive families.
Who Authored the Paternity Leave Law in the Philippines?
Republic Act No. 8187 (also known as the Paternity Leave Law) was authored by Senator Blas Ople, with the assistance of Senator Edgardo Angara and Representative Raul Gonzalez Jr. The law was signed into law by former President Joseph Estrada in 1996.
What are the Conditions in Availing the Paternity Leave Law in the Philippines?
The Paternity Leave Law or Republic Act 8187 grants 7 calendar days of paid leave for married male employees regardless of employment status i.e., regular, probationary, contractual or project-based, who are considered the biological father of the child. During the paternity leave, the married male employee is entitled to receive his regular pay and mandatory allowances. To avail of the paternity benefit, the following conditions must be met:
The married male employee should be legally married to the mother of the child, whom he is cohabiting. As defined in Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE)'s handbook, cohabiting means the obligation of the husband and wife to live together.
The child should be a legitimate child and not an adopted child.
The paternity leave covers live childbirth (normal or cesarean delivery) and miscarriage.
The seven-day paternity leave, either continuous or intermittent, can only be availed of within 60 days from the date of delivery of the child.
The married male employee should have notified his employer of his plan to avail of the paternity leave within a reasonable time. You may refer to the company's leave policy. If the child's delivery is unexpected, the male employee should notify the employer as soon as possible.
The married male employee should submit a written notice or submit application for Paternity Leave to his employer which will indicate the expected date of delivery and the date he intends to start his paternity leave.
The employer may request further documentation, such as a copy of the child’s birth certificate or a medical certificate confirming the expected date of delivery.
Once all the conditions have been met, the employer must grant the employee’s request for paternity leave. The benefit shall be granted for a continuous or intermittent period of seven days, without affecting the male employee’s entitlement to other leaves granted by the employer.
How can married male employees in the Philippines avail of paternity leave?
Whether monthly-paid or daily-paid employees, a qualified male employee can avail of paternity leave by following these steps:
Check the company's policy on paternity leave.
Employers may have their own policies on paternity leave, so it is important to check the employee handbook or consult with the HR department regarding the available leave benefits.
Notify the employer.
Inform the employer at least seven days before the intended start of the paternity leave. Provide the necessary documentation, such as a marriage certificate and a birth certificate of the child.
File a paternity leave request.
Submit a formal request for paternity leave through the HR department or the supervisor.
Wait for approval.
The employer has the right to approve or deny the request, depending on the company's policy.
Take the paternity leave.
Once the request is approved, take the paternity leave within 60 days from the date of the child's birth. The employee can avail of a maximum of seven days of paternity leave, with full pay based on the employee's regular salary.
Return to work.
Upon completion of the paternity leave, the employee must return to work on the next working day.
Please remember that in the event that the paternity leave is not availed of, it is non-convertible to cash and non-cumulative.
What are the Sanctions if Paternity Leave Benefit is not Granted by the Employer?
Employers who fail to provide paternity leave benefits in the Philippines to the qualified male employee may be subject to administrative sanctions. According to RA 8187 Sec. 5:
"Any person, corporation, trust, firm, partnership, association or entity found violating this Act or the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder shall be punished by a fine not exceeding Twenty-five thousand pesos (P25,000) or imprisonment of not less than thirty (30) days nor more than six (6) months.
If the violation is committed by a corporation, trust or firm, partnership, association or any other entity, the penalty of imprisonment shall be imposed on the entity’s responsible officers, including, but not limited to, the president, vice-president, chief executive officer, general manager, managing director or partner directly responsible therefor."
In addition, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) may also impose other penalties such as suspension or revocation of business permits. These sanctions aim to ensure compliance with the law and protect the rights of male employees to avail of their paternity leave benefits.
Will there be an Expanded Paternity Leave Act?
The paternity leave benefit in the Philippines is constrained by the economic realities and challenges that many families face. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, the poverty incidence among Filipino families was 16.6% in 2018, which means that about one in six families lived below the poverty threshold. For many low-income and informal sector workers, taking a longer paternity leave may not be feasible or desirable, as it would mean losing income or job security. Moreover, some employers may not be willing or able to comply with the paternity leave law, especially if they operate on a small scale or have limited resources.
These are some of the possible reasons why the paternity leave benefit in the Philippines is restricted to 14 days. However, this does not mean that this situation cannot change or improve in the future. There have been several proposals and initiatives to amend or expand the paternity leave law, such as House Bill No. 8042 or the Expanded Paternity Leave Act of 2019, which seeks to increase the paternity leave to 30 days. There have also been efforts to raise awareness and advocacy on the importance and benefits of paternity leave for fathers, children, mothers, and society as a whole. Ultimately, the paternity leave policy in the Philippines is a reflection of the values and priorities of its people and government, and it can evolve and adapt to meet their changing needs and aspirations.
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Source: DOLE handbook; RA 8187 and its IRR