105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law

New Legislation Enacted

Author: Emerico O. De Guzman, Managing Partner – Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW)

The “105-Day Expanded Maternity Leave Law,” which became effective on March 8, 2019, extends maternity leave benefits to all female workers in the government and private sectors, including those in the informal economy, regardless of civil status or child’s legitimacy. From 60 days for normal delivery or miscarriage, or 78 days for caesarean delivery under the old Social Security Law, working women are now entitled to 105 days’ worth of maternity leave with full pay, with an option to extend the same for an additional 30 days without pay. Benefits are also available for solo parents, the child’s father (or in his absence or incapacity, a qualifying alternate caregiver), and the current partner of the female worker sharing the same household. The maternity benefits will apply to every instance of pregnancy, miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy regardless of frequency. Employers are responsible for payment of the salary differential between the actual cash benefits received by the female worker from the Social Security System and her regular wage.

Telecommuting Institutionalized as Alternative Work Arrangement

New Legislation Enacted

Author: Emerico O. De Guzman, Managing Partner – Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW)

The “Telecommuting Act,” which became effective last January 26, 2018, has institutionalized telecommuting as an alternative work arrangement for workers in the private sector. Employers in the private sector may offer such work arrangement on a voluntary basis, provided it: (1) complies with the labor standards set by law, and (2) includes compensable work hours, minimum number of work hours, overtime, rest days, and entitlement to leave benefits. Under the law, employees covered by the telecommuting program must receive the same treatment as that of comparable employees working at the office/business premises of their employers. Employers shall be responsible for taking the appropriate measures to ensure the protection of data used and processed by the telecommuting employees for professional purposes.

Social Security Act of 2018

New Legislation Enacted

Author: Emerico O. De Guzman, Managing Partner – Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW)

The “Social Security Act of 2018,” which became effective on March 5, 2019, amended the 21-year-old charter of the state-run pension fund. To strengthen the pension fund in the private sector, the new law implements new rates of employer and employee contributions: from a total of 11% of the monthly salary in 2019, until the same reaches 15% in 2025. It also provides for the gradual adjustment of employees’ minimum and maximum monthly salary credits. The new law also expands the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the Social Security Commission, which include, among others, the power to determine the salary credit and monthly contributions of member-employees and adjudicate penalties imposed due to delinquent social security contributions. The law also provides for the mandatory coverage of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), provided they are not over 60 years of age.

Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act of 2018

New Legislation Enacted

Author: Emerico O. De Guzman, Managing Partner – Angara Abello Concepcion Regala & Cruz Law Offices (ACCRALAW)

The Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act of 2018, which became effective last January 25, 2019, criminalizes discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS. In the context of the workplace, discrimination pertains to the rejection of a job application, termination of employment, or other discriminatory policies in hiring, provision of employment and other related benefits, promotion or assignment of an individual solely or partially on the basis of actual, perceived, or suspected HIV status. Such discriminatory acts are punishable by imprisonment of six months to five years, and/or a fine ranging from Php50,000 to Php500,000. Moreover, anyone who knowingly or negligently causes another to get infected with HIV in the course of the practice or profession through unsafe and unsanitary practice and procedure, or who compels any person to undergo HIV testing without his/her consent, shall suffer imprisonment of six to 12 years. If the offender is a corporation or any other juridical person, the penalty of imprisonment shall be imposed upon the responsible officers and employees who participated in or allowed the gross negligence or commission of the crime.