Just like expecting mothers, soon-to-be-fathers also have benefits they can claim. A man’s role is crucial the moment that his wife becomes pregnant; more so, during and a few days after childbirth. Having this said, a woman needs his man by his side when she gives birth to their baby. But do men have paternity leave benefits like women? Here are some of the more common inquiries expecting fathers usually ask about what paternity benefits they can claim.
Are there paternity benefits soon-to-be-dads can claim?
Before we dive into that topic, it’s best to understand the difference between paternity benefits and maternity benefits. Maternity benefits are honored by PhilHealth and the Social Security System (SSS) wherein expecting mothers can get benefits.
In addition to that, the Philippine Labor Code only explains the benefits of soon-to-be-moms, it doesn’t give mention to expecting fathers or about paternity benefits. Soon-to-be-fathers, however, doesn’t get the same treatment.
This is as per the Republic Act 8187 or the Paternity Leave Act of 1996: An act granting paternity leave of seven (7) days with full pay to all married male employees in the private and public sectors for the first four (4) deliveries of the legitimate spouse with whom he is cohabiting and for other purposes.
What is the Paternity Leave Law?
Under this law, both private and government male employees here in the Philippines are allowed to have seven (7) days of paternity leave with full pay. Yes, you’ve read that right, with full pay including the basic salary, monetary benefits, and the employee’s COLA.
This is done because the paternity leave allows new fathers to have a chance to support their wives after giving birth, and, of course, to take care of their newborn children. This could also be used to help a partner recover after either an abortion or miscarriage.
Having that said, that’s everything you will receive. However, there are some private companies who have paternity benefits which are more than what the paternity leave law provides.
Is the paternity leave convertible to cash?
Unfortunately, no. Unlike other paid types of leaves, the paternity leave could not be converted to cash. Moreover, you cannot carry the number of days you were not able to utilize this over to your wife’s next pregnancy, miscarriage, or abortion.
New fathers have this right to be able to spend time with both their wives and their new babies for at least seven (7) days.
What are the eligibilities for an expecting father to avail the paternity leave?
In being able to have a paternity leave, there are certain criteria that male employees need to meet in order for them to have a paternity leave. A male employee can avail of the paternity leave if they meet the following conditions:
- Have a wife who is pregnant, has given birth, or had a recent miscarriage;
- Must be employed at the time of childbirth
- If the pregnancy, miscarriage, or childbirth has not happened more than four (4) times;
- If you live with your wife in under one roof and if you’re legally married to her; and
- You need to notify your employer about your wife’s pregnancy and of course, provide information on when the due date of the delivery will be.
NOTE: Expectant fathers who are not legally married to their wives, those who don’t live with their wives in under one roof, and those whose wives had more than four (4) instances of childbirth, pregnancy, or miscarriage won’t be eligible for these paternity benefits.
When can an expectant father avail the paternity leave?
According to the law, they can claim this paternity benefit before, during, and after their wife gives birth. The total number of days off should not exceed seven (7) working days or a working week for each delivery or instance.
Let me give you an example: If you like to maximize your 7-day allowable leaves, you can take one (1) day off before your wife’s delivery; one (1) day off when she’s giving birth, and five (5) days off after the birth. The paternity leave act, however, only allows taking the days off only within sixty (6) days after the child’s delivery date.
How can an expectant father file for the paternity leave?
As we all are aware of, maternity leave benefits can be filed with the SSS. Paternity leaves, however, are just filed with the employer. But how can you file a paternity leave?
1. Once you know in-depth details about your wife’s pregnancy, immediately notify your human resources (HR) team about your wife’s pregnancy and her due date.
2. You will be asked to fill out a paternity notification form which your employer will provide
3. Then, you have to submit the accomplished form together with a copy of the following documents:
- Original and photocopy of marriage certificate
- You and your wife’s barangay clearance
Other things that your employer might ask from you:
- Copies of ultrasounds
- Medical records as proof of pregnancy
After the period of your paternity benefits, your employer may ask you for your baby’s birth certificate. In cases like miscarriages or abortion, you need to provide medical proof or a death certificate.
NOTE: Your employer may have a different process in filing for a paternity leave. What we gave is the generic process because you really need to notify them beforehand. The best thing to do is to notify your employer months before the due date so they can prepare their contingency plan.
My employer did not allow me to file a paternity leave. What should I do?
Every new father has the right to enjoy paternity benefits. However, in the event that they refuse to grant you one, you can file a statement to your HR. If they are insistent about it, you can then file a complaint with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). You can go to their office or you can contact them via their 24/7 hotline at 1349.
Going back to the Paternity Leave act, companies who violate the law must pay a fine of not more than Php25, 000.00. Or they can be jailed for at least thirty (30) days up to six (6) months.
Could paternity benefits be improved?
As of the moment, the total number of days a new mother can have is 78 days for caesarian births and 60 days for normal delivery. However, two new bills are on their way; both are on final approval and both would extend the number of days a new mother can take days off.
The Senate Bill 4113 is the bill that would allow female workers to allocate up to thirty (30) days of their benefits to the legitimate father of the child. So currently, the bill is still in its way and is yet to be approved.
Although it seems unuseful for a father to have days off when her wife gives birth, it’s actually important and essential because women need support especially after giving birth or having an abortion or miscarriage. This is why paternity benefits are important for everyone involved.
Do you think that paternity benefits should be improved? Or is it fine looking like how it is now? Hopefully, the Senate Bill 4113 will be approved in order for the paternity leave to be somehow extended for fathers to spend more time with their families.