IRR for Expanded Maternity Leave Law signed on Labor Day

Robie de Guzman   •   May 1, 2019   •   5013

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)

POEA, OWWA to be placed as part of Department of OFW

Maris Federez   •   September 18, 2019

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) is pushing for the inclusion of several of its attached agencies in the creation of the Department of OFW.

Based on the proposal submitted by Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to the Lower House, he recommended to place the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA), and the National Reintegration Center for OFWs (NRCO) as part of the Department of OFW.

Aside from the aforementioned agencies, Bello also proposed to include in the soon to be created department all other entities that cater to the needs and welfare of Filipino workers abroad.

“May mga existing bureau services like yung International Labor Affairs Bureau ng DOLE, yung OWWA ng DFA, yung CFO ng Office of the President, ipapaabsorb diyan sa department na yan,” Bello said. (from the report of Vincent Arboleda) /mbmf

PHL ready to repatriate Filipinos in Saudi Arabia following oil sites attack

Robie de Guzman   •   September 17, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is ready to repatriate thousands of Filipinos from Saudi Arabia who were affected by the attacks on oil sites last weekend, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said Tuesday.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said this is if the condition in the world’s top oil-exporting country worsens in the coming days.

Bello added that as of now, they are still monitoring developments and assessing the possible implications of the attacks on the safety and security of Filipino workers in the area.

There are about 50,000 Filipino workers in areas affected by the blasts but Bello assured no Filipino was injured in the attacks.

“So far, no reports of OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) injured or negatively affected by the attack and no work disruption was reported. Our Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in Al Khobar, Riyadh, and Dammam are also on top of the situation to check on the conditions of our OFWs,” he said in a statement.

On the early hours of Saturday (Sept. 14), a series of major drone attacks were launched on Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil processing facility.

The attacks on the processor and a major oil field sparked a huge fire, according to the kingdom’s interior ministry.

Houthi Rebels have claimed responsibility for the attack.

DOLE said they are closely coordinating with the Department of Foreign Affairs on the possible evacuation of Filipinos from the blast sites.

“We are coordinating with the DFA on the development of the situation for constant assessment. But we are ready for any eventual repatriation to ensure the safety and security of OFWs, or help them secure employment in the other areas,” Bello said.

Saudi Arabia is among the top destination countries for OFWs composing 24.3 percent of the total 2.3 million OFWs across the globe, based on the 2018 Survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority.

SSS eyes 32 million web transactions by 2020

Robie de Guzman   •   September 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Social Security System (SSS) is looking to attract more users of its online platforms in transacting with the pension fund in a bid to achieve its target of 32.3 million web transactions by 2020.  

SSS President and Chief Executive Officer Aurora Ignacio said the pension fund will further enhance its electronic service delivery by adding transactions and expand payment channels for the convenience of paying members.

“We’re headed towards the direction of making SSS transactions easy and accessible for our members through the utilization of agile technology. We’d like to make sure that through the digitalization of our core service deliveries, we will be able to provide faster, easier, and accessible services for our members,” Ignacio said in a statement.

“Electronic services are beneficial to both SSS and our members and pensioners. SSS saves on overhead expenses while our members save time, money, and effort when they use our electronic facilities,” she added.

Data from the SSS showed that from January to June 2019, 72 percent or 26.63 million of the 37.16 million transactions were done over-the-counter while about 28 percent or 10.54 million were through electronic channels.

“We recognize that it is a continuing challenge for us to shift our members and pensioners to use the self-service online facilities of SSS,” Ignacio said.

“We’re looking to turn the tables and make more members transact through online facilities instead of over-the-counter transactions. By 2020, we are targeting to triple the current 10.54 million web transactions to 32.2 million,” she added.

SSS data also revealed that only 37 percent or 5.49 million individual members out of 14.95 million paying members are registered in its website as of June.

“We hope to increase this number to about 8 million in 2020 or an additional of more or less 3 million web-registered members,” Ignacio said.

On the other hand, 396,686 paying employers were all registered to the SSS web facility.

At present, the SSS has six electronic channels accessible to members and pensioners.

These are the SSS Website – My.SSS, SSS Mobile App, Self-Service Express Terminal (SET), Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS, Text-SSS and Contribution payments through GCash.

Ignacio said usage of these electronic facilities has increased by 8 percent reaching 10.54 million compared to January to June data of last year.

“We’re hoping to further improve these numbers by 2020,” Ignacio said.

The SSS is also eyeing to eliminate the use of checks for disbursement of benefit claims through PESONet transactions and its thru-the-bank program.

Ignacio also revealed that 33 SSS branches will be renovated with larger e-Center areas as part of its initial digitalization implementation.

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