Understanding Statutory Leaves of Employees in the Philippines

EMployee Leaves

                As the old saying goes, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Hence, part of improving an employee’s efficiency is to allow him to take a leave from work without sacrificing his income.

The Philippine Labor Code and other special laws mandate certain leaves that an employer should extend to an employee. These leaves form part of the employee’s statutory benefits. As such, it is important for an employer to extend these leaves to his employees. Otherwise, he might be liable for violation of laws.

Contrary to popular belief, the usual vacation leaves and sick leaves customarily given to employees are NOT in fact mandatory. The only mandatory leaves that an employer is required to give are the following: Service Incentive Leave (SIL), Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Parental Leave for Solo Parents, Leave for Victims of Violence Against Women & their Children and Special Leave for Women.

Service Incentive Leave (SIL)

An employee who has rendered at least one year of service shall be entitled to a yearly service incentive leave of five days (5) with pay.

The service incentive leave does not apply to those employees enjoying vacation leave of at least five days with pay. Moreover, unused service incentive leave shall be converted to cash.

Maternity Leave

A female employee who has paid at least three (3) monthly contributions in the twelve month period immediately preceding the semester of her birth to the SSS, shall be paid a daily maternity benefit equivalent to one hundred percent (100%) of her average salary credit for sixty (60) days or seventy-eight (78) days in case of caesarean delivery subject to the following conditions:

a. That the employee shall have notified her employer of her pregnancy and the probable date of her childbirth, which notice shall be transmitted to the SSS in accordance with the rules and regulations it may provide;
b. The full payment shall be advanced by the employer within thirty (30) days from the filing of the maternity leave application;
c. That payment of daily maternity benefits shall be a bar to the recovery of sickness benefits provided by this Act for the same period for which daily maternity benefits have been received;
d. That the maternity benefits provided under this section shall be paid only for the first four (4) deliveries or miscarriages;
e. That the SSS shall immediately reimburse the employer of one hundred percent (100%) of the amount of maternity benefits advanced to the employee by the employer upon receipt of satisfactory proof of such payment and legality thereof; and
f. That if an employee member should give birth or suffer miscarriage without the required contributions having been remitted for her by her employer to the SSS, or without the latter having been previously notified by the employer of the time of the pregnancy, the employer shall pay to the SSS damages equivalent to the benefits which said employee member would otherwise have been entitled to.

It should be noted that maternity leave is available for all female employees regardless of marital status (whether married or unmarried). Furthermore, the maternity leave benefits are not included in computing the employee’s 13th month pay.

Paternity Leave

Paternity Leave refers to the seven (7) days with pay leave granted to a married male employee for the purpose of allowing the husband to help and assist his wife during childbirth, recovery and nurture of the infant.

A married male employee may be able to avail of this leave for the first four (4) deliveries or miscarriage of his legitimate spouse with whom he is cohabiting. It is incumbent upon the male employee to notify his employer of the pregnancy of his legitimate spouse and the expected date of such delivery.

Parental Leave for Solo Parents

Parental leave for solo parents is provided for under Republic Act No. 8972 and granted to any solo parent or individual who is left alone with the responsibility of parenthood due to:

1. Giving birth as a result of rape or, as used by the law, other crimes against chastity;
2. Death of spouse;
3. Spouse is detained or is serving sentence for a criminal conviction for at least one (1) year;
4. Physical and/or mental incapacity of spouse as certified by a public medical practitioner;
5. Legal separation or de facto separation from spouse for at least one (1) year: Provided that he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children;
6. Declaration of nullity or annulment of marriage as decreed by a court or by a church: Provided, that he/she is entrusted with the custody of the children;
7. Abandonment of spouse for at least one (1) year;
8. Unmarried father/mother who has preferred to keep and rear his/her child/children, instead of having others care for them or give them up to a welfare institution;
9. Any other person who solely provides parental care and support to a child or children: Provided, that he/she is duly licensed as a foster parent by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) or duly appointed legal guardian by the court; and
10. Any family member who assumes the responsibility of head of family as a result of the death, abandonment, disappearance, or prolonged absence of the parents or solo parent: Provided, that such abandonment, disappearance, or prolonged absence lasts for at least one (1) year.

The parental leave, in addition to leave privileges under existing laws, shall be for seven (7) work days every year, with full pay.

In order to be entitled to the leave, a solo parent employee should have complied with the following:

1. He/she has rendered at least one (1) year of service, whether continuous or broken;
2. He/she has notified his/her employer that he/she will avail himself/herself of it, within a reasonable period of time; and
3. He/she has presented to his/her employer a Solo Parent Identification Card, which may be obtained from the DSWD office of the city or municipality where he/she resides.

In the event that the parental leave is not availed of, it CANNOT be convertible to cash, unless specifically agreed on previously.

A change in the status or circumstance of the parent claiming the benefit under the law, such that he/she is no longer left alone with the responsibility of parenthood, shall terminate his/her eligibility for this benefit.

Leave for Victims of Violence Against Women and Their Children Under Republic Act No. 9262

Women employees who are victims as defined in Republic Act No. 9262 shall be entitled to a leave of up to ten (10) days with full pay. The said leave shall be extended when the need arises, as specified in the protection order issued by the barangay or the court. The leave benefit shall cover the days that the woman employee has to attend to medical and legal concerns.

To be entitled to the leave benefit, the only requirement is for the victim-employee to present to her employer a certification from the barangay chairman (Punong Barangay) or barangay councilor (barangay kagawad) or prosecutor or the Clerk of Court, as the case may be, that an action relative to the matter is pending.

The usage of the ten-day leave shall be at the option of the woman employee. In the event that the leave benefit is not availed of, it shall CANNOT be converted into cash and shall NOT be cumulative.

Special Leave Benefits for Women under Republic Act No. 9710 (The Magna Carta Of Women Act)

Any female employee, regardless of age and civil status shall be entitled to a special leave of two (2) months with full pay based on her gross monthly compensation subject to existing laws, rules and regulations due to surgery caused by gynecological disorders under such terms and conditions:

1. She has rendered at least six (6) months continuous aggregate employment service for the last twelve (12) months prior to surgery;
2. In the event that an extended leave is necessary, the female employee may use her earned leave credits; and
3. This special leave shall be non-cumulative and nonconvertible to cash.