Neophyte Senator Joel Villanueva has filed a bill seeking additional 15-day leaves every year for private or public workers who have parental responsibilities — whether they are single, married or in common-law or same-sex relationships.
Under Senate Bill 1064 known as “An act providing for parental leave and other benefits to workers in private and public workers,” an employee or working couples who have parental responsibilities would be given additional 15-day leaves aside from leave privileges they are enjoying under existing laws.
The bill defined “working couples” as employees who are married to each other, or are in common-law relationship or in same-sex relationship and are both employed, either in the same establishment or in different establishments.
“In addition to leave privileges under existing laws, parental leaves of 15 days every year shall be granted to an employee who has rendered service of at least one year,” it said.
The bill also provides for “flexible work schedule” for an employee with parental responsibility, “provided that the same shall not affect individual and company productivity.”
A fine of not more than P25,000 or imprisonment of not less than 30 days nor more than six months awaits a person, corporation, trust, firm, partnership, association or entity found violating this proposed law.
Villanueva noted that at present, the benefits of flexible work schedule, work discrimination and parental leave are limited to solo-parents only as provided for under Republic Act No. 8972 known as the “Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000.”
“Yet, working couples, or workers in common-law relationship or same- sex relationship are faced with the same parental responsibilities as the solo-parents, but are denied such benefits,” he said in the explanatory note.
“For instance, where no flexible work schedule or parental leave is provided, the workers with family responsibilities incur tardiness or absences as they go about their duties toward their children.”
In the case of working couples, Villanueva said, discrimination occurs when women are stereotyped as the sole child-carer.
“They are expected to absent themselves from work or be late for work where their children need parental care or protection. They become the default child- carer by virtue of stereotyping which is a form of discrimination,” he said.
“On the other hand, for employees in common-law relationship or same-sex relationship, discrimination also occurs in the grant of parental and other benefits for want of recognition of such relationships,” said the senator.
Villanueva said the passage of the bill would not only benefit the solo-parents, but also the working couples and other employees with family responsibilities, “thereby removing the unnecessary hindrance on the ability of employees to combine family obligations with work responsibilities.”
“It will also reduce discrimination in the workplace in regard to terms and conditions and benefits of employment. At the same time, the bill will encourage joint parental responsibility, in the best interest of the child,” he said.
“Finally, consistent with the constitutional ideal, it would strengthen the family solidarity and promote the total family development,” he further said.
Write-up by: Maila Ager