By Chester B. Cabalza
“An Act Granting Leave of 7 days with Full Pay to all Married Male employees in the Private and Public Sectors in First Four Deliveries of the Legitimate Spouse whom He is Cohabiting and for other Purpose”
“All employers are obligated by law to grant paternity benefit to all married employees whose spouse is about to or has given birth…”
Under Section 3 of Republic Act No. 8187, it defines paternity leave as, “benefits granted to a married male employee allowing him not to report for work for seven 97) days but continues to earn the compensation therefor, on the condition that his spouse has delivered a child or suffered a miscarriage for purposes of enabling him to effectively lend support to his wife in her period of recovery and/or in the nursing of the newly-born child.”
Herein, Parental leave is an employee benefit that provides paid or unpaid time off work to care for a child or make arrangements for the child's welfare. Often the minimum benefits are stipulated by law.
Section 2 of the said RA stipulates that the Paternity leave shall be paid in full, equivalent to seven (7) days, up to the first four deliveries of the legitimate spouse with whom he is cohabiting.
Married male employees are encouraged to file for paternity leave with the following condition to entitlement that: (1) the claimant, a married male employee, is employed at the time of delivery of his child; (2) he is cohabiting with his spouse at the time she gives birth or suffers a miscarriage; (3) he has applied for paternity leave; and (4) the wife has given birth or has suffered miscarriage. Thus, wife herein is the lawful wife or woman legally married to male employee concerned.
The purpose is for the father to help take good care of the newborn child while his wife is still recuperating. When on paternity leave, male employees whose wife just went through childbirth are allowed not to report to work for seven days, but would receive payment equivalent to such number of days of leave.
In RA 8187, a delivery means a childbirth (normal of by caesarian section) or miscarriage.
The payee would be the Social Security System (SSS) in the Philippines for the private sector, and the GSIS for the public sector. Herein, corporations, trusts, firms, partnerships, associations, and other employing agencies that remit contributions to SSS and the GSIS are obligated to grant paternity leave benefits according to what are described by RA 8187. In private companies, the male employee must be cognizant if they have separate policies on paternity benefits.
Those qualified for the paternity leave entitlement, under the Paternity Leave Act of 1996, are all married male employees as soon as the legitimate spouse has given birth. However, unlike maternity leave benefits, only those husbands who are living with their wives under the same roof may be granted this benefit. If there are no existing policies, the male employee is recommended to discuss it either with his manager or the human resources head on making a special arrangement that both parties can agree on.
For violators of the said law, as stipulated in Section 5, paragraph 1, “any person, corporation, trust, firm, partnership, association or entity found violating this Act or the rules and regulations promulgated there under shall be punished by a fine not exceeding twenty-five thousand pesos (P25,000) or imprisonment of not less than thirty (30) days nor more than six (6) months.
Paragraph 2 provides that, “if the violation is committed by a corporation, trust or firm, partnership, association or any other entity, the penalty of imprisonment shall be imposed on the entity’s responsible officers, including, but not limited to, the president, vice-president, chief executive officer, general manager, managing director or partner directly responsible therefor.”
Accordingly, paternity leave benefits are an excellent help to families expecting a newborn child in the coming months. However, like maternity leave, eligible male employees, take advantage of this benefit and should be able to notify their employers and the SSS about their spouse’s pregnancy and the expected date of delivery.
This Act, which was consolidated through Senate Bill No. 1032 and House Bill No. 7134 was finally passed by Congress on June 8, 1996 and was approved by then President Fidel V. Ramos on June 11, 1996.