Who’s afraid of the expanded maternity leave?

Women might have lesser chances of getting hired because of Republic Act 11210 (or the Expanded Maternity Leave Law).

Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

That’s what the Employers Confederation of the Philippines’ (ECOP) recent survey is implying. To quote ECOP Director General Jose Roland Moya from the interview from GMA’s 24 Oras: “Mako-compromise daw ‘yung productivity ng company at, siyempre, iniisip din nila ‘yung cost implications in terms of the benefits.” This kind of mindset just gives you a glimpse of why we can’t get rid of this “third-world” label.

Granted that not all SMEs can afford to pay the salary differential imposed by the expanded law (micro-businesses are exempted from this provision), this argument still defies logic. How many women do they think will give birth and take their maternity leaves within the same period all at the same time? Even if their female employees use their ML benefits one after the other, how many do they think could there be in a year?

Let’s just say either of the two scenarios did happen (by the wrath of Hera, perhaps?), won’t there be anyone from their present staff to cover for the employees on leave? That’s the usual contingency in any business, right? Will it be different if five male or single female employees suddenly fell seriously ill all within the same period and had to take a leave for more than at least a month?

These employers are paranoid and lack creativity. Here’s my unsolicited advice to you guys: when your employees go on maternal leaves, take this as an opportunity to discover the depth of creativity and diligence among your current crop of employees. See who has dedication. See who’s willing to cover for the tasks left by the ones on leave. It’s your business’ gain in the long run.

If no one steps up to the plate when your employees go on maternal leave, then you must take a second look at your workforce. Rethink your hiring process and standards. Don’t confuse fertility with productivity.

Perhaps you can also look at one positive side of this expanded leave: resoluteness. Women who give birth have more mouths to feed, and therefore have more purpose. As TUCP suggests, those who have longer maternity leaves come back healthier. Any decent emoloyer would know that women are better at multi-tasking, has stronger work ethics, more patient, to say the least. If you’re paying attention to their daily work, you probably already know that.

Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

ECOP, I think your “pursuit of national development” is one sided. I suggest you level up from being a mere “voice” to being a “thinking body” so you can study your options better. Man up (and that goes for you women employers, too) and adapt because the rest of the world already has — more than a decade ago!

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