by Charissa M. Luc-Atienza
A neophyte lawmaker wants to extend the current seven days of paternity leave to 15 days with full pay, citing the importance of the presence of both parents in the formative stages of an infant’s development.
Bulacan Rep. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado cited the need to amend Sections 2 and 3 of Republic Act 8187, otherwise known as the “Paternity Leave Act of 1996.”
“The role of child-rearing cannot be left to the mother alone and thus, it is essential for the father to fulfill his responsibilities as well,” Sy-Alvarado said.
Citing studies, he said fathers who take paternity leave are more likely to take on active roles in child-care tasks, therefore establishing strong relationships with their children and active involvement in their lives.
“Extending the paternity leave will help in the development of the child while also making sure that the married individual, both male and female, are able to have the same professional opportunities as unmarried individuals,” Alvarado said.
“Companies also benefit in providing their employees with a paternity leave policy as such policies help companies in attracting the best and the brightest people to their human resource,” he said.
Sy-Alvarado filed House Bill 6500 to provide paternity leave to all married employees, regardless of the nature of employment and lengthen the leave period to 15 days with full pay for all deliveries of their legitimate or common-law spouse with whom they are cohabiting.
The current law limits the benefits of paternity leave to only seven days and to only the first four deliveries of the wife.
“The father should be granted latitude for caring for his newly-born child and his wife to allow him to effectively discharge his duties as the chief member of the family principally responsible for the ministration of the family,” Sy-Alvarado said.
“Seven days are not enough for the complete recuperation of the mother, and the father should be by her side to see that she regains strength for weaning the infant,” he said.
HB 6500 also grants the father-employee an option to extend his leave for an additional 15 days without pay, provided that they give due notice to his employer within five days prior to the expiration of their original 15-day paternity leave.