Hontiveros, Baguilat propose bill extending maternity leave

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Sen. Risa Hontiveros (L) and Rep. Teddy Baguilat (R) have filed bills seeking to extend maternity leave benefits. Baguilat is also asking that leaves granted to fathers be extended.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Two lawmakers have filed bills seeking to extend maternity leave benefits.

Senator Risa Hontiveros wants to expand leave benefits for expectant mothers up to 120 days, plus another 30 days for solo mothers.

She explained the additional 30 days "can be allocated to alternate caregivers such as their common law partners, or relatives up to the 4th degree of consanguinity."

Hontiveros added that the 30 days can be extended to persons who have adopted a minor.

Ifugao Representative Teddy Baguilat filed a similar bill, but he seeks 150 days maternity leave.

Currently, mothers are only given between 60-78 days of leave after giving birth.

Baguilat said, "Paid maternity leave also increases the likelihood of infants getting well-baby care visits and vaccinations, and the rate and duration of breastfeeding, which is known to be very beneficial to the health of mothers and infants."

Baguilat's proposed bill also extends to single mothers, adoptive mothers, and mothers in long-term relationships but are not married.

READ: Lower house pushes for 100-day maternity leave for working women

Paternity leave extension

Baguilat is also pushing for an extension of paternity leave--he is asking that it be extended to 15 days from the current seven.

He said, "This is part of providing the best possible care by both parents to their baby. Extending the paternity leave will also allow for the maximum recovery of the mother after birth and for the fathers to be able to maximize the joys of fatherhood and fulfill their role as partner of the mother."