Lawmaker wants to extend paternity leave to 15 days

MANILA — An administration lawmaker at the House of Representatives wants to extend the week-long paternity leave granted to married male employees to 15 days.

According to a statement on Monday, Quezon City Rep. Alfred Vargas has filed House Bill 5353, which seeks to amend Republic Act 8187 or the Paternity Leave Act of 1996.

“The Paternity Leave Act was enacted by Congress in recognition of the husband’s role in providing care for his wife before, during, and after the birth of their child. However, the law is still inadequate in addressing the necessities of the Filipino family,” said Vargas.

The proposed legislation seeks to lengthen the leave period from seven days to 15 days and expand the law’s coverage by granting paternity leave to all married male employees regardless of the nature of employment.

HB 5353 also provides eligible employees an option to extend their paternity leave to 15 days more, without pay.

Another provision states that the paternity leave shall not be deducted from the employee’s annual leave credits.

“Fathers who take paternity leave are more likely to take an active role in child-care tasks, therefore establishing strong relationships with their children and inciting active involvement in their lives,” Vargas said.

“Also, the early father-child interaction has long-term benefits for a child’s learning abilities,” he added. FMC/