Published: November 10, 2020 | Updated: November 11, 2020 | Posted by: Venus Zoleta | Government Services
Expecting a baby soon? Your role as a father is crucial from the moment you learn about your wife’s pregnancy, more so during and after childbirth. You have to give her your time and support every step of the way—on top of working hard to provide for your new family. And that’s why as a dad-to-be, you deserve to know the paternity benefits you can get from your employer and the government.
Here are the questions soon-to-be dads usually ask about paternity benefits, specifically paternity leave in the Philippines, and their corresponding answers.
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Let’s set your expectations straight: Paternity benefits differ a lot from PhilHealth and SSS maternity benefits. For one, these two government agencies don’t provide benefits specifically for expectant fathers.
Also, the Philippine Labor Code provides maternity leave benefits only—it doesn’t mention anything about paternity benefits.
However, there’s a law that grants paternity leave benefits: the Paternity Leave Act of 1996 or Republic Act 8187.
Under RA 8187, male private and government employees in the Philippines are entitled to seven days of paternity leave with full pay. They should receive their basic salary, allowances, and other monetary benefits for those days.
The paternity leave allows fathers to care for their newborn and wife after giving birth or help their partner recover after a miscarriage or abortion.
That’s all you can expect to receive—nothing more, nothing less—except if you’re working for a company that offers a paid paternity leave that’s longer than the government-mandated leave.
“Am I entitled to the paternity leave if I’m not married to my partner?”
“Can I file a paternity leave if I’m not living with my wife?”
Sadly, the answer to both questions is no. The paternity leave is only valid to male private and government employees who are married and living with their partners.
You can avail of paternity leave benefits if you meet these conditions:
Would-be fathers can take their paternity leave before, during, and after their wife gives birth. The total number of days off shouldn’t exceed seven working days for each child delivery.
For example, you can take a two-day leave before your wife’s due date, one day during her delivery, and four days after childbirth.
The Paternity Leave Act, however, allows taking the leave only within 60 days after the child delivery date.
Unlike maternity leave benefits, the paternity leave isn’t filed with the SSS but rather with the employer.
Here are the general steps to file for paternity leave benefits as soon as you discover that your wife is pregnant:
After you’ve availed of your paternity benefits and within a reasonable period, you’ll also need to submit a copy of your newborn’s birth certificate. In case of a miscarriage or abortion, submit a medical or death certificate.
Your employer may have a different policy for filing a paternity leave. It’s best to check with the HR office about the specific steps to take.
For your convenience, get a copy of your marriage certificate and your baby’s birth certificate or death certificate through the NSO online service. You won’t have to personally visit an NSO or PSA branch, and you’ll receive your requested documents in your home or office within two to 13 working days.
Unlike other types of paid leaves, any unused paternity leave credits can’t be converted to cash. Also, you can’t have your unused leave credits carried over to your wife’s next pregnancy.
So use all the seven days of paid leave to make the most of your time off with your wife and newborn.
“My employer doesn’t provide paternity leave as an employee benefit. What should I do?”
Talk to your HR or write a letter to state your case. You have the right to enjoy the paternity leave as long as you’ve met all the conditions under the law.
If your employer still denies your paternity benefits claim, you may file a complaint with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) through its 24/7 call center hotline: 1349.
According to the Paternity Leave Act, companies that violate the law should pay a fine of not more than PHP 25,000 or be jailed for at least 30 days up to six months.
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No matter how insignificant they may seem, paternity benefits can certainly help you fulfill your role better as a new father. If it’s any consolation, the Congress has recently approved the 100-day paid maternity leave bill. Just keep your fingers crossed that this will soon become a law.