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IRR for Expanded Maternity Leave Law signed on Labor Day

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

Courtesy:n REUTERS

The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the Republic Act 11210 or the Expanded Maternity Leave Law have been signed on Labor Day (May 1).

Heads of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Civil Service Commission (CSC) and Social Security System (SSS) signed the IRR in San Fernando, Pampanga. This will pave the way for the full implementation of the Expanded Maternity Leave Act.

Under the law, working mothers in private and public sectors – regardless of civil status – will be granted 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 previous law only allowed female workers a 60-day paid maternity leave for normal childbirth and 78 days for cesarean delivery.

Husbands can also benefit from the law as it includes a provision allowing the allocation of seven maternity leave days to fathers. This is on top of the seven-day paternity leave provided under the Paternity Leave Act of 1996.

President Rodrigo Duterte signed the Expanded Maternity Leave Act in February.

READ: President Duterte signs Expanded Maternity Leave Act

Senator Risa Hontiveros, the law’s author and principal sponsor, welcomed the signing of the IRR, calling it good news to all women workers.

“I am happy that the implementing rules and regulations of the measure were signed and released today,” Hontiveros said in a statement. “I welcome this development as this ensures the full implementation of the law and that all women will benefit from the measure.”

“This is certainly good news to all women workers and their families who have patiently waited for the law’s IRR,” she added. – Robie de Guzman (with details from Rosalie Coz)

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DOLE to closely monitor firms violating Labor Code, Expanded Maternity Leave Act

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, May 3rd, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has assured it will closely monitor employers following the signing of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the Republic Act 11210 or the Expanded Maternity Leave Act.

The implementing rules for the law were signed on Labor Day (May 1) in San Fernando, Pampanga, months after President Rodrigo Duterte signed the measure in February.

READ: IRR for Expanded Maternity Leave Law signed on Labor Day

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said they will keep watch of companies’ that will discriminate against women in their hiring practices following concerns on the “higher cost implications” of the new law.

“Mayroon naman tayong inspectorial power, puwede naming inspeksyunin yan,” Bello said.

Article 135 of the Philippine Labor Code states that it shall be unlawful for any employer to discriminate against any woman employee with respect to terms and conditions of employment solely on account of her sex.

Bello stressed that employers should hire female workers based on their competence and integrity and that the additional leave benefits for women should not be a concern to employers.

“Ang mga employers, when they hire workers they rise on the basis of their competence and integrity hindi yun sa buntis o sa ganda. It’s on the confidence and integrity of the worker kaya yung dagdag na araw na kanilang leave, it should not be a concern to our employer,” he said.

Under the law, working mothers in private and public sectors – regardless of civil status – will be granted 105 days of paid maternity leave with the option to extend for 30 days without pay.

Solo mothers can get additional 15 days of leave.

The previous law only allowed female workers a 60-day paid maternity leave for normal childbirth and 78 days for cesarean delivery.

Husbands can also benefit from the new law as it includes a provision allowing the allocation of seven maternity leave days to fathers. This is on top of the seven-day paternity leave provided under the Paternity Leave Act of 1996.

Bello also said that instead of raising concern on the additional cost implications, employers should appreciate the law which provides for women’s rights to health and decent work.

“Dapat i-appreciate ‘yan ng mga employer, alam mo kung bakit? This expanded maternity leave is intended to improve and ensure the health of our lady worker,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malacañang lauded the recent signing of the IRR, which will pave the way for the full implementation of the law.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said that aside from added maternity leave benefits for female workers, the law also means more quality time to spend with the family.

“Imagine 105 days, that means you will have more time with your family, quality time. And that means also your health will be protected, because you will not be forced to work immediately after giving birth,” he said.

“And also the husbands, ‘di ba mayroon pa silang extended, parang 15, magiging 15 days na, so makakabuti sa pamilya iyon,” he added.

Employers who will fail or refuse to comply with the law will be fined of not less than P20,000 nor more than P200,000; imprisonment of less than six years and one day nor more than 12 years or both.

Failure to implement the new law shall also be a ground for non-renewal of business permits. (with reports from Rosalie Coz and Leslie Huidem)

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Drive vs. illegal foreign workers delayed by shortage of labor inspectors

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, April 8th, 2019

Chinese workers in the Philippines

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) admits that the drive against illegal foreign workers is a huge challenge, having only 800 labor inspectors in its roster.

“Dapat kami ang maniguro na walang mga dayuhan ang mabigyan ng permit na magtrabaho kung ang trabaho na iyan ay kaya ng Pilipino,” noted Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III in a radio interview on Monday (April 8).

(We [DOLE] must make sure that no foreign worker will be granted a work permit for a job that can be carried out by a Filipino.)

“Ang problema lang kasi namin diyan ay sa dami ng mga establishment na ini-inspection namin, mayroon lang kaming 800 na inspectors, and you’re talking of almost one million business establishments all throughout the country,” he lamented.

(Our problem, however, is the number of establishments that we need to inspect. We only have 800 inspectors and you’re talking of almost one million business establishments all throughout the country.)

Bello thanked the Department of Finance (DOF) through Secretary Carlos Dominguez for assisting the DOLE to have at least an additional 1,000 labor law compliance officers, although that number is still not enough as the agency needs at least 5,000 labor inspectors.

The Labor Secretary said the additional labor law compliance officers will focus on foreign workers who were given special working permits in economic zones in the country. – Marje Pelayo

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Cheaper price of rice seen after release of IRR for Rice Tariffication Law

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Saturday, April 6th, 2019

Rice vendor

MANILA, Philippines — Policymakers released on Friday (April 5) the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the law easing importation of rice.

The 31-page Joint Memorandum Circular 01-2019 signed by Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, and Acting Budget Secretary Janet B. Abuel contained the IRR of R.A No. 11203 or the Rice Tariffication Law.

The law, however, already took effect last March 5 with self-executing provisions such as the tariff rates.

The law states that 35% tariff would be collected if rice was imported from within the ASEAN.

Forty (40) percent tariff, on the other hand, will be collected on imports within the minimum access volume (MAV) of 350,000 metric tons from countries outside ASEAN.

If the import is from a non-ASEAN country and above the MAV, the rate would be 180%.

Before the new law was passed, the Philippines was bound by the import quota or the “quantitative restrictions” (QR) aimed at protecting local farmers.

“We celebrate this milestone for the agriculture sector. All concerned agencies, including the National Economic and Development Authority, are duty bound to implement this historic law. In moving forward, we all have the long-term goal of modernizing the rice industry and improving the lives of all Filipinos, especially farmers, in our minds,” Pernia, who heads the state planning agency Neda, said in a statement Friday (April 5).

The Rice Tariffication Law followed concerns regarding the country’s rice supply when stocks got depleted last year which was deemed the main contributor to the 10-year high inflation of 5.2 percent in 2018.

RA 11203’s IRR also highlights the the power of the President to enforce safeguard measures when rice prices soar.

Likewise, the law removes the National Food Authority’s (NFA) commercial and regulatory functions while only its emergency buffer stocking mandate is retained.

“Prior to the completion of the study, the NFA will continue to maintain its current buffer stock level ranging from 15 to 30 days based on a daily national rice consumption of 32,593 metric tons per day,” the statement read.

“The unused grain rice stocks will be unloaded and sold in the domestic market at the prevailing market price or even at a slightly lower rate as long as this would cover storage logistics costs,” according to NEDA.

Meanwhile, the IRR also details the establishment of the P10-billion Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) coming from the national budget, which will be directly transferred to implementing agencies.

Also, the IRR sets the guidelines on the allocation of the tariff revenues in excess of P10 billion which will be used to help the local farmers.

The IRR also removed the prior documentary requirements of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) for rice imports.

“Concerned government agencies, such as the Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Plant Industry of DA, no longer require the NFA permit, license, or registration for trade and importation of rice. The only requirement to import and trade rice is the phytosanitary import clearance (SPSIC), which can be obtained from the Bureau of Plant Industry,” NEDA said.

The IRR will take effect 15 days upon publication. – Marje Pelayo

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