A measure filed in Congress seeks to grant maternity leaves to unmarried pregnant government employees.
House Bill 4684, principally authored by General Assembly Binding Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality, Leadership, and Action (Gabriela) Representative Emmi De Jesus, states that women in government service should be given the maternity leave regardless of marital status.
De Jesus stressed that the government should recognize the important role of women in society and it is the state’s obligation to protect working women as specifically stated in the Article III, Section 14 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
This, however, is not yet fully recognized by the government as present legislation is still discriminatory to women, said De Jesus, who is also the vice chair of the House Committee on Population and Family Relations.
De Jesus further reiterated that the present law also violates the equal protection principle under Philippine laws.
Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan, A co-author of the bill, added that the present law on maternity leave deprives both the unmarried woman and the unborn child of the protection they are entitled to.
Maternity leave benefits are being given to pregnant women in the private sector regardless of marital status in accordance to RA 8282 or the Social Security System Act.
Women’s groups are also supporting the granting of maternity leaves to unmarried pregnant workers in government.