Did You Know? Filipino Women Are Entitled To A Two-month Paid Leave On Top Of Maternity, Vacation And Sick Leaves
When the need arises, you can rest easy through this special benefit for women.
As an employee, there are benefits that are accorded to us as part of our contract, among them, health insurance, retirement benefits, sick leaves, and vacation leaves. In 2019, the government also mandated the implementation of 105 days of paid maternity leave for all working Filipino women.
Not a lot of women, however, are aware of a “special leave” that they can utilize if they need to go through medical procedures concerning their reproductive health. This Women’s Month, it is important to educate ourselves about the Magna Carta of Women and how it can protect us under the Philippine law.
Republic Act No. 9710, more popularly known as the “Magna Carta of Women,” is a comprehensive women’s rights law that aims to eliminate discrimination against women by recognizing, fulfilling, and promoting the rights of Filipinas, especially those that belong in the marginalized sector. It was passed by the Philippine Senate and House of Representatives in May 2009. There are several rights guaranteed under the Magna Carta of Women, and one of them is the special leave benefit program.
What is the special leave benefit under the Magna Carta of Women?
Female employees, regardless of age and civil status, who are suffering from gynecological disorders and are required to undergo surgeries are entitled to up to two months of special leave with full pay, based on their basic monthly income and mandatory allowances following the surgery.
According to the guidelines governing the implementation of the special leave benefits, gynecological surgeries include, but are not limited to:
- Colpocleisis (Le Fort type)
- Cervical biopsy
- Cervical cerclage
- Hysterorrhaphy of ruptured uterus
- Dilation and Curettage (D&C)
- Hysteroplasty (Strassman type)
- Drainage of ovarian abscess
- Ovarian Cystectomy
- Total mastectomy
Who may avail the special leave benefit?
- The private sector
A female employee who has been employed with a private company for the last 12 months and has rendered at least six months of continuous service before the scheduled surgery may avail the special leave.
- The public sector
A female employed in the government for at least 12 months and who has rendered continuous service for at least six months in any government agency prior to the scheduled surgery may avail of the special leave.
To avail of the special benefit, the employee must file a leave at least five days before the scheduled surgery, which may be foregone in cases that require an emergency procedure.
Can the special leave benefit be used more than once?
Yes. According to the Philippine Commission on Women, the special leave benefit can be used for “every instance of surgery due to gynecological disorder for a maximum total period of two (2) months or sixty (60) calendar days per year.”
What documents are needed to avail the special leave benefit?
- An accomplished leave form, filed at least 5 days before the surgery
- A medical certificate signed by a medical authority specializing in gynecological disorders. The medical certificate should be submitted after the surgery with a clinical summary of the female employee’s gynecological disorder, which may include the following: a histopathological report, operative technique used, duration of surgery, period of confinement, and period of recuperation.
A few reminders
- Your special leave benefit is non-cumulative and non-convertible to cash, unless stated by your company.
- If your doctor prescribes more than two months of recuperation period, you may charge the excess days to other mandated leave benefits by your company. For employees in the public sector, you may use your earned sick leave credits or vacation leave credits, after the sick leave credits have been exhausted.
- The Magna Carta of Women special leave benefit is different from the SSS Sickness Benefit. Aside from the fact that they are implemented by two separate entities, the special leave benefit is utilized in the event of a gynecological surgery, whereas the SSS Sickness Benefit is in accordance with Republic Act No. 1161 or the “SSS Law.”
What other rights are guaranteed under the Magna Carta of Women?
Aside from the special leave benefit, the Magna Carta of Women also spells out every woman’s right to:
- Protection from all forms of violence, including those committed by the State
- Protection and security in times of disaster and calamities
- Participation and representation in the third level civil service, development councils and planning bodies, as well as political parties and international bodies, including the private sector
- Equal treatment before the law
- Equal access and elimination of discrimination against women in education
- Equal participation in sports
- Non-discrimination in employment in the field of military, police and other similar services
- Non-discriminatory and nonderogatory portrayal of women in media and film
- Comprehensive health services and health information and education
- Equal rights in all matters relating to marriage and family relations
The Magna Carta of Women aims to protect women from discrimination, provide equal employment opportunities, and promote the rights of every Filipina, especially those in the marginalized sectors. In light of the National Women’s Month, let us educate ourselves with the existing laws that aim to protect our well-being, and continue to fight for equality in the workplace.
For more information on the Magna Carta of Women, you can visit the Philippine Commission on Women website.