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Albay Rep. Lagman seeks paternity leave extension to 30 days

MANILA—A lawmaker is seeking to amend the "Paternity Leave Act of 1996" to extend the allowed paid leave benefits of all married male employees from seven days to 15 days, and grant them additional 15 days of unpaid leave to lengthen the time spent of every man with his wife and newborn after delivery.

Albay 1st District Rep. Edcel B. Lagman
Rep. Edcel "Grex" B. Lagman (1st District, Albay) raised the proposal, saying the physical presence of the husband during the first month after childbirth is paramount in the swift recovery of her wife, and is medically proven to reduce her postpartum depression.

Lagman said that when a mother gives birth to her child, she is doubly faced with the arduous challenge to nurture her newborn while she recuperates from post delivery. He said the first month after childbirth is almost an impossible time for both mother and child. He said it is at this stage that every mother is at risk of postpartum depression due to her hormones going haywire during the very crucial time of providing 24/7 care to a still fragile baby according to him.

"Every husband's support and care for his wife will make baby nurturing for both parents manageable," said Lagman, a House Assistant Majority Leader.

Moreover, he said a father's care is as important to every newborn as the mother's nurturing.

"During the first weeks of a baby's life, the family bond is formed and intensified daily as the baby recognizes his primary caregivers. A father also feels a great desire to hold his little one as much as his wish to provide financially for his family's needs," said Lagman.

Lagman said Republic Act 8187, otherwise known as the "Paternity Leave Act of 1996" was promulgated in line with Article II, Section 12 of the Constitution which provides that "The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government."

Through House Bill 5554, which is now pending at the Committee on Labor and Employment chaired by Rep. Karlo Alexei B. Nograles (1st District, Davao City), Lagman sought the amendment of Section 2 of RA 8187 to extend the paid leave benefits of all married male employees and provide them additional unpaid leave benefits.

The proposed amendment to Section 2 provides that "Notwithstanding any law, rules and regulations to the contrary, every married male employee in the private and public sectors shall be entitled to a paternity leave of 15 days with full pay for the first four deliveries of the legitimate spouse with whom he is cohabiting and said leave shall not be deducted from his annual leave credits. He shall also have the option to extend his paternity leave up to 30 days of which the last 15 days are unpaid and will likewise be not deducted from his annual leave credits. The male employee applying for paternity leave shall notify his employer of the pregnancy of his legitimate spouse and the expected date of such delivery."  (Media Relations Service, Public Relations and Information Bureau)

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