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Six months after the implementation of the Expanded Maternity Leave Law (EMLL), the first periodic review was held to update the labor and employer sectors on the status of the law in terms of its availment through the Social Security System (SSS), as well as the employers' compliance through the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE).

The Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC), together with the Bureau of Working Conditions (BWC) and the Bureau of Labor Relations (BLR), conducted the first periodic review of the Expanded Maternity Leave Law on September 27, 2019 at the Occupational Safety and Health Center in Quezon City. 

“Participate instead of engaging into a debate. Let us discuss how to have a smooth flow on the implementation of the Implementing Rules and Regulations,” Assistant Secretary Benjo Santos Benavidez remarked as he opened the program.

Queen Therese Espinas of the BWC presented the updates on the inspection of establishments, as well as conciliation-mediation cases from the DOLE Regional Offices.

“Out of the 10 reported conciliation cases, which were mostly in the Bicol Region, 8 were settled, while 2 cases were referred to the National Labor Relations Commission as they involve other matters like illegal dismissal apart from maternity claims,” Espinas further stated.

Mr. Rodolfo Encajonado, Director of Human Resource Policies Standards of the Civil Service Commission, provided updates on the implementation of the law in the public sector.

On the part of the SSS, Ms. Normita Doctor, Vice President for Benefits, informed the participants of their recent undertaking relative to the EMLL.

“Last August 20 of this year, the SSS released Office Order No. 2019-036 or the guidelines in the receipt and processing of maternity benefit claims,” Doctor added.

Moreover, the SSS will release EMLL booklet, which will be available in all its branches starting November.

Concerns involving some private companies that are allegedly not complying with the 105-day maternity leave law, and salary differential for workers were raised during the open forum.

“The salary differential does not include the non-taxable allowances of the employees. It is also subject to the Bureau of Internal Revenue rules on tax,” Atty. Kristine Eugenio from the Opinion and Research Department of the SSS said.

According to Assistant Secretary Benavidez, the workers may seek help from the DOLE on companies that do not implement the EMLL, through the Single Entry Approach (SEnA) done at the regional, field or provincial offices of the Department.

END/mgbassig

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