Expanded maternity leave law seen boosting SSS benefit payouts
The Social Security System (SSS) sees further rise in maternity benefit payouts this year amid the implementation of the expanded maternity leave law giving mothers at least 105 days off from work to take care of their newborn babies.
In a statement Sunday, the state-run pension fund said disbursements for maternity benefits amounted P7.1 billion last year, up 16 percent from P6.1 billion in 2017.
In 2018, over 326,000 female SSS members availed of this benefit.
“We are glad that we are able to assist more of our female members financially during their pregnancy in 2018. We have recorded an increase of 12.6 percent or 36,550 female members more who availed themselves of the benefit in 2018 compared to that of the previous year,” SSS president and chief executive Aurora C. Ignacio said.
During the first two months of this year, the latest SSS data showed that it already disbursed P1.3 billion to more than 62,000 female member-beneficiaries.
“We are expecting that these disbursements will continue to increase this year following the implementation of the 105-day Expanded Maternity Leave Law with the implementing rules and regulations already signed on Labor Day,” Ignacio said.
The law signed by President Rodrigo R. Duterte in February gave an option to add 30 more days of unpaid leave to the 105 days of paid maternity leave.
Previously, maternity leave credits only covered between 60 and 78 days for normal childbirth and cesarean delivery, respectively.
Solo mothers can also avail of 15 days of additional leave, while those who suffered from miscarriage or emergency termination can be granted 60 days of paid leave.
The expanded maternity benefit, which can be enjoyed regardless of the frequency of deliveries or miscarriage, hiked the maximum financial assistance to P70,000, based on the monthly salary credit of P20,000, from P32,000 previously.
“The SSS is motivated to continuously develop its benefit programs to provide more meaningful assistance to its members. We recognize the needs of mothers and their newborn babies. We hope that through the Extended Maternity Leave Law, women workers may be able to fully enjoy their rights to health and decent work,” Ignacio said.
The law will cost the SSS an additional P7.5 billion yearly, even as the pension fund already raised since April the monthly contribution rate to 12 percent from 11 percent previously, as mandated under the Social Security Act of 2018. /cbb