From Julia:
Maternity leave is a long established employee benefit here in the Philippines. Lately, we’ve been getting questions on how this system works and how it’s applied to their VAs. 

How long does maternity leave in the Philippines last?

Under Philippine law, women are entitled to up to 105 days of maternity leave with the option to extend that maternity leave for an additional 30 days without pay.

Where is the pay going to come from? Does the employer pay for that?

No. The maternity leave with pay is covered by the SSS or our social security system. Women are entitled to this maternity benefit IF they have contributed (or paid into) the system for 3 consecutive months in the past 12 months. 

The amount they receive would depend on how much they contributed. We have a table here that shows how much VAs should continue to their SSS depending on their salary:

The bigger their salary, the bigger their contributions should be. 

What if they’re a new employee and haven’t started making their contributions yet, does that mean they can’t avail for this benefit?

They can still get SSS maternity benefits if they pay for the 3 months worth of contributions in one go. Once they do that, they can start applying for the process of getting their maternity leave benefits. When they’re done with the filing, they’d receive a check or direct bank transfer from the SSS.

What else does a female employee get with their maternity leave?

If the worker also paid into our socialized health care system (Philhealth), they would be entitled to the Maternity Care Package (MCP). 

To avail for the MCP, they need to:
– pay into Philhealth for at least 9 months straight within a 12 month period AND 
– give birth in a Philhealth accredited hospital (most hospitals in the Philippines are). 

The MCP would cover the costs of standard natural or C-section birth procedures and up to 45 days hospital confinement. 

What if the employee hasn’t may 9 contributions yet? Are they still entitled to the Philhealth benefit?

Like the SSS, they can choose to pay all 9 contributions in one go. But it’s strongly encouraged that women start contributing to the fund as soon as they find out they’re pregnant to make the payments easier.

What about paternity leave? Is that a thing in the Philippines?

Yes, it is. Men are entitled to 7 days paternity leave. Women can opt to allocate 7 days of their maternity leave to their partners, giving men up to 14 days leave.

How to file for maternity leave?

The SSS and Philhealth recommend that women start processing their maternity leave paperwork 30 days before their expected due dates to avoid delays in receiving their benefits. 

For the most part, all they need to do here is to:
– update their SSS and Philhealth records to show that they have paid their contributions
– start filing up the SSS and Philhealth paper to apply for these benefits
– for Philhealth medical benefits, make sure that the hospital and their doctors are Philhealth accredited. 

Here’s what usually happens (in my experience)
– You worker will tell you they’re about to have a baby, so they’ll need some time off
– They’ll estimate how much time off they’ll need.  It’s unlikely to be 3 months.
– They’ll try to come back to work asap for 2 reasons:
  1. they want to double dip. They get paid by the government for maternity leave, and they get paid by you for working.
  2. They care about you and your business. They care about their job. They want to make you happy.