MANILA- Several women's groups are calling upon the Philippine government to make the country's maternity leave law at par with its Southeast Asian neighbors ahead of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.
In a press conference joined by groups such as Akbayan-Women, IndustriAll, NAGKAISA-Women, and Partido Manggagawa, women workers urged Philippine lawmakers to pass the Expanded Maternity Leave Bill, providing 120 days of paid maternity leave days and an additional 30 days for solo parents.
"It is gravely disheartening that even as the Philippines is the Chair and host of the ASEAN this year, our country has long fallen behind our ASEAN neighbors in the area of competent maternity care," IndustriALL Spokesperson Shirley Yorong said.
Under the existing Philippine law, new mothers may take 60 calendar days of paid leaves. Those who undergo cesarian deliveries are entitled to 78 days of maternity leave. This pales in comparison to other Southeast Asian countries which grants around 100 days of paid leaves.
Vietnam, for instance, provides 120 to 180 days of maternity leave, depending on working conditions and nature of work. Singapore on the other hand grants 112 days of maternity leave.
ASEAN leaders are set to gather in Manila and Clark, Pampanga for the 31st ASEAN Summit and related meetings which will be held on Nov. 13 to 17.