DOLE fast tracks IRR for Expanded Maternity Leave Act

Marje Pelayo   •   March 8, 2019   •   9726

MANILA, Philippines – Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III assured to expedite the crafting of the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the Expanded Maternity Leave Law that extends the maternity leave benefits of female employees.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has 90 days to craft the IRR, but Bello is confident that the agency will be able to finish the draft within 45 to 60 days.

Under the new law, maternity leave benefits of 60 days or two months have been extended to 105 days or more than three months.

It was signed by President Rodrigo Duterte on February 20, 2019.

The new law takes effect 15 days after publication of the IRR in broadsheets of national circulation. – Marje Pelayo (with details from Aiko Miguel)

Pay from longer maternity leave is tax-free – BIR

Robie de Guzman   •   October 17, 2019

Filipino mothers breastfeed their newborn babies at a maternity ward of the Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila, Philippines, 10 July 2008. EPA/AKIRA LIWANAG

MANILA, Philippines – Working women and expectant mothers in the private sector can now enjoy their 105-day maternity leave as the salary differential provision in the law is not subject to tax.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) has clarified that the expanded maternity leave for female workers is considered as a benefit, which means it should be exempted from withholding or income taxation.

The BIR made the clarification in its memorandum circular 105-2019 posted on its website last week.

“The maternity benefit of the female worker has been expanded from the previous 100% of the average daily salary credit to a full pay or salary which includes now the salary differential as its component, aside from the added duration of the maternity leave. Accordingly, it is therefore clear that salary differential is considered as a benefit,” reads the circular signed by BIR Commissioner Caesar Dulay.

The BIR said it took into account the law’s provisions and implementing rules, as well as issuances from the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Social Security System (SSS).

The Expanded Maternity Leave Act, signed by President Rodrigo Duterte in February, grants working mothers in private and public sectors – regardless of civil status –105 days of paid maternity leave with option to extend for 30 days without pay.

Solo mothers can get additional 15 days of leave.

The measure also allows the mother to transfer seven days of her 105-day maternity leave to the father to extend his paternity leave.

Senator Risa Hontiveros, the law’s author and principal sponsor, welcomed the BIR clarification calling it good news to all working mothers and their families.

“This is welcome news indeed. Now mothers and their families will not only be able to enjoy the biological benefits of the EML law, but their financial welfare is also looked after, particularly those who earn just enough to meet basic needs and still feel the pinch in times of economic strain. This is truly an early Christmas gift to all working mothers and their families,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

DOJ to release sanitized list of heinous crime convicts freed under GCTA next week

Maris Federez   •   September 26, 2019

Inmates stand inside a prison cell during a peace accord event to stop violence amongst gangs inside the New ‘Bilibid’ Prison’s maximum security compound in Muntinlupa City, south of Manila, Philippines, 27 December 2018. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra admitted that the GCTA controversy, as well as the near release of former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez, was a huge challenge for his department.

“It’s something na parang a major shock in the system,” Guevarra said.

With this, Guevarra said that the department is now doubling its efforts in reviewing and scrutinizing the records of the affected prisoners.

He added that the freed convicts under the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) who surrendered and was, later on, found out that they were not included in the list will be sent home at the soonest time possible.

The DOJ is also set to release the list of heinous crime convicts who were freed thru the GCTA credits by next week.

“By Sept. 30, we will be coming up with that cleaned up list. Yung mga heinous crime convicts who are still out there so hahanapin na yan ng PNP and even ng military,” he said.

The Bureau of Corrections list only consisted of 1,914 freed convicts. However, more than 2,000 surrendered and most of them had already been turned over to the Bucor.

Also to take effect next week is the new implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the GCTA Law, and it is expected to pave the way for the correct recalculation of sentence of the prisoners. (from the report of Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Roxas, De Lima on GCTA controversy: Why blame the IRR?

UNTV News   •   September 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Former Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Mar Roxas and detained Senator Leila de Lima have broken their silence amid reports linking them to the controversial Good Conduct Time Allowance (GCTA) law.

Roxas and De Lima were among those who drafted the law’s implementing rules and regulations (IRR).

The Office of the Ombudsman has requested Roxas and De Lima to explain why the provisions concerning convicts of heinous crimes in relation to the GCTA privilege was not clarified in the IRR.

But the former Interior chief maintained that the IRR shouldn’t be blamed just because the law wasn’t properly implemented.

In a tweet, Roxas stressed that those who approved the convicts’ release order should face the questioning, not those who drafted the IRR.

He accused his critics of passing the buck because of the controversial law.

Nevertheless, Roxas vowed to appear and cooperate in the Ombudsman’s probe.

“Apparently iimbestigahan ng Ombudsman itong (The Ombudsman will probe this) GCTA issue. Well and good, at masasagot ko kung ano man ang mga tanong nila (I will have the chance to answer their questions),” Roxas tweeted.

Meanwhile, De Lima expressed doubts over the intention behind the linking of her name to the GCTA issue when she has nothing to do with the controversy.

“I find this development highly irregular,” the lady senator said in a statement.

De Lima emphasized that the focus of the probe should be on whether or not the officials of the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) followed the rules and reviewed the cases using the proper guidelines of releasing a convict under GCTA.

Roxas and De Lima were given three days to respond to the request of the Ombudsman.

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman has launched a fact-finding investigation to determine the alleged irregularities in the implementation of the GCTA law. — MNP (with reports from Joan Nano)

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