Paternity Benefits in the Philippines: A Father’s Guide to Paternity Leave

“Anticipating the arrival of a newborn? As a father, your involvement is crucial starting from the moment you find out about your spouse’s pregnancy, particularly during and after delivery. Aside from working hard to provide for your new family, Paternity Benefits in the Philippines: A Father’s Guide to Paternity Leave,

you must also offer her your time and assistance every step of the way. That’s why it’s important for you, as an expectant father, to understand the paternity benefits available in the Philippines.

Below are some common inquiries from soon-to-be fathers regarding paternity benefits, particularly paternity leave in the Philippines, along with their respective responses.”

What Paternity Benefits in the Philippines Can I Claim?

Let me clarify your expectations: The benefits for fathers who are expecting a child are different from the maternity benefits provided by PhilHealth and SSS. These two government agencies do not offer specific paternity benefits or paternity leaves for fathers-to-be.

Furthermore, the Philippine Labor Code only provides for maternity leave benefits and does not mention anything about paternity benefits. However, there are laws that grant paternity leave benefits, such as the Paternity Leave Act of 1996 or Republic Act 8187, and the Allocation of Maternity Leave Credits under Section 6 of Republic Act 11210.

The Paternity Leave Law

In accordance with RA 8187, male employees working in both private and government sectors in the Philippines are eligible for seven days of paternity leave with full pay. During this period, they are entitled to receive their regular salary, allowances, and other monetary benefits.

The purpose of this paternity leave is to allow fathers to take care of their newborn child and their spouse after giving birth, as well as to assist their partner in recovering from a miscarriage or abortion.

It is important to note that this is the maximum benefit provided by law, and no additional compensation is mandated unless the employer offers a longer paid paternity leave beyond what is required by the government.

Allocation of Maternity Leave Credits Under Section 6 of RA 11210

The current paternity leave policy only offers seven days of fully paid leave, which is inadequate considering the lengthy recovery period required after childbirth. Your wife will need more support during this time.

However, there is an alternative option. The 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law (RA11210) provides female workers in both private and government sectors with 105 days of fully paid maternity leave. They can also choose to take an additional 30 days of leave without pay. Solo mothers who meet the eligibility criteria are granted an extra 15 days of leave.

So, how does paternity leave fit in? According to Section 6 of RA 11220, if your wife is a private sector employee and she transfers seven days of her maternity leave credits to you, you can qualify for an extended leave period. As your wife is entitled to 105 days of fully paid leave, she can transfer seven days of her credits to you, leaving her with 98 days. This benefit is only available to currently employed individuals.

How Many Days Is Paternity Leave in the Philippines in 2022?

Currently, you can receive a total of 14 days of paternity leave. This is possible if you request to transfer leave credits from your spouse. The first seven days of leave are covered by the Paternity Leave Law and are paid. The remaining seven days are optional and fall under the Expanded Maternity Leave.

Who is Eligible for Paternity Leave?

Can I take paternity leave if I’m not married to my partner?

Is it possible for me to request paternity leave if I don’t reside with my spouse?

Regrettably, the answer to both queries is negative. Paternity leave is solely applicable to male private and government employees who are married and cohabiting with their partners.

Nonetheless, under the 105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law, the mother can transfer her leave credits to you even if you’re not legally wed.

Paternity Leave Requirements

  1. You can be employed under any employment status (regular, probationary, casual, seasonal, fixed-term).
  2. You must be employed at the time of childbirth.
  3. Your wife must be pregnant, have given birth, or have had a miscarriage.
  4. The pregnancy, childbirth, or miscarriage has not occurred more than four times.
  5. You must be legally married to your pregnant wife.
  6. You must be living with your legitimate wife under one roof.
  7. You must properly notify your employer within a reasonable time of your wife’s pregnancy and the expected delivery date. (This requirement is not necessary for cases of miscarriage.)

When Can I File a Paternity Leave?

Prospective fathers are entitled to take paternity leave before, during, or after their spouse’s childbirth. However, the maximum number of days off for each child delivery should not exceed seven working days. As an illustration, you may take two days off before your spouse’s due date, one day off during the delivery, and four days off after childbirth. According to the Paternity Leave Act, paternity leave can only be taken within 60 days of the child’s delivery date. If you plan to take the 14-day paternity leave, make sure you have the necessary documentation to transfer maternity leave credits.

How to Apply for Paternity Leave in the Philippines

To file for paternity leave benefits, you need to inform your HR department about your wife’s pregnancy and expected due date. Then, fill out a Paternity Notification Form provided by your employer and submit it with a copy of your marriage certificate to HR. Your employer may also require ultrasound results and other medical records as proof of pregnancy.

If you want to avail yourself of the additional seven days of leave, you need to prepare the SSS paternity leave requirements by submitting the completed SSS Allocation of Maternity Leave Credits form and the Maternity Notification form.

After availing of your paternity benefits, you must submit a copy of your newborn’s birth certificate within a reasonable period. If there is a miscarriage or abortion, a medical or death certificate must be submitted.

It’s important to note that different employers may have different policies for filing paternity leave. So, it’s best to check with your HR office about the specific steps to take.

To obtain a copy of your marriage certificate and your baby’s birth or death certificate, you can use the NSO online service for convenience. You won’t have to personally visit an NSO or PSA branch, and the requested documents will be delivered to your home or office within two to 13 working days.

Why Should You Take Paternity Leave?

Becoming a father is one of the most rewarding things in this world. You truly don’t want to miss all the firsts with your child. This is why taking paternity leave is a must. Here are more reasons:

1. Helps Fathers Form Strong Bonds With Their Babies

The initial months following a baby’s birth are crucial for the mother and child, but they’re also significant for the father and the baby. Taking paternity leave presents an opportunity for fathers to create a strong attachment with their newborns from the very start. Research has demonstrated that dads who opt for paternity leave are more inclined to participate in their child’s upbringing in the future. Additionally, they’re more prone to sharing childcare responsibilities with their partner, which can lower stress levels and promote equality in the household.

Furthermore, taking paternity leave has beneficial effects on the mental and physical well-being of both the fathers and the children. It’s not only advantageous for families but also for businesses. Employees who feel supported by their employers are more productive and engaged in their work. Therefore, providing paternity leave is a win-win situation for both employers and employees.

2. Allows Fathers to Take Care of Their Partner After Childbirth

After their child is born, new fathers often find themselves in unfamiliar territory and may feel overwhelmed and unsure about how to best support their partner. However, taking paternity leave can provide invaluable support. This time off from work can allow you to focus on bonding with your child and assisting your partner as she adjusts to motherhood. You can learn new skills, such as changing diapers, feeding the baby, and calming a fussy infant. Additionally, you can take on some of the household duties, allowing your partner to rest and recover from childbirth. Overall, paternity leave can help to establish a stronger bond between father and child and make the transition to parenthood smoother for both parents.

3. Helps Reduce the Risk of Postpartum Depression in Fathers

The initial weeks following the birth of a child are crucial for establishing a healthy relationship and bonding. However, during this time, some fathers may feel left out and overwhelmed, increasing their risk of postpartum depression.

Paternity leave can significantly decrease the chances of postpartum depression in fathers by allowing them sufficient time to bond with their newborns. Moreover, this leave provides them with an opportunity to learn the art of baby care and develop a network of supportive parents.

Overall, paternity leave can foster a stronger family bond and promote the physical and emotional well-being of both parents and children.

FAQs about Paternity Benefits in the Philippines

1. Is paternity leave only for married couples?

The Paternity Leave Law requires that in order to be eligible for the seven days of paternity leave, you must be legally married and living together with your spouse. However, when it comes to transferring leave credits, your spouse can transfer them to the father regardless of whether they are legally married or not.

2. Are there paternity benefits in SSS?

“SSS does not offer direct paternity benefits, however, it is possible to transfer maternity leave credits provided that you meet the necessary requirements and have the required documentation as mentioned earlier.”

3. Does paternity leave cover miscarriage?

“Indeed, paternity leave applies regardless of the type of childbirth, including live birth, normal delivery, cesarean section, or miscarriage. To avail of this benefit, it’s important to gather all necessary documents and meet the requirements. It’s advisable to have a conversation with your HR team to ensure a smooth process.”

4. Is paternity leave convertible to cash?

“Unlike other forms of paid leave, paternity leave credits cannot be exchanged for cash, and unused credits cannot be transferred to your spouse’s future pregnancy. Therefore, it’s recommended to utilize all seven days of the paid leave to maximize the time spent with your spouse and new child.”

5. What if an employer refuses to give paternity benefits?

You should speak with your HR representative or draft a letter to explain your situation. It’s important to remember that you are entitled to paternity leave if you have fulfilled all the necessary requirements under the law.

If your employer still refuses to grant your paternity benefits, you can report the issue to the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) by calling their 24/7 hotline at 1349.

Under the Paternity Leave Act, companies that violate this law may be fined up to ₱25,000 or even face imprisonment for a minimum of 30 days up to six months.

Other Things You Should Know about Paternity Benefits in the Philippines

Not all paternity benefits are created equal, so it’s important to ask your employer about them as soon as possible. This way, you and your spouse can plan accordingly. If your company offers paternity benefits that are more favorable to you as an employee, they may supersede the benefits mentioned earlier.

If you decide to take extended paternity leave, the amount of maternity leave credits transferred to you will be deducted from the mother’s total maternity SSS benefit. Regardless of whether you’re a new employee or not, you’re eligible for paternity leave benefits as long as you’re currently employed and have the necessary documentation.
Paternity leave lasts for seven calendar days with full pay, which includes your basic salary and mandatory allowances fixed by the Regional Wage Board according to the DOLE Handbook on Workers’ Statutory Monetary Benefits.

Final Thoughts

Even if they may appear insignificant, paternity benefits can greatly aid new fathers in fulfilling their role. As fathers increasingly exercise their right to paternity leave, it is hoped that Philippine employers will voluntarily begin to offer paternity benefits. Taking time off after a child’s birth is crucial not only for the father’s benefit but also for the baby’s development and overall health.

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