The Department of Health (DOH) today salutes the passage of Republic Act 11210, also known as the Expanded Maternity Leave (EML) Act last February 20.
"This is another noteworthy addition to the series of legislations that protect, promote, and support the health and nutrition of the Filipino family," Health Secretary Francisco Duque III declared, adding that the passage of this law is also very timely for March which has been designated as Women’s Health month.
The EML Act complements the recent passage of Republic Act 11148, or the Kalusugan at Nutrisyon ng Mag-Nanay Act. With the EML Act, women are given additional economic support through ensuring that their one hundred and five (105) days (with additional 15 days for single mothers) of maternity leave are paid, regardless of economic and social background.
Healthy women are happy women, thus pregnancy and motherhood should not be reasons why economic opportunities, such as employment, should be taken away from them.
The DOH believes that when mothers and their families are allowed to recover physically and mentally from pregnancies and in welcoming newborns as new additions to their lives, they are able to participate in the economy much more effectively as healthy citizens, healthy workers, and more importantly, as healthy parents.
It has been documented that when the first one thousand (1,000) days of life of an infant as well as the mother’s well-being are ensured through proper health and nutrition interventions far-reaching effects occur on children’s ability to grow and learn, giving them a fighting chance at rising out of poverty. These interventions include exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life with breastfeeding continued with nutritious and sustainable complementary feeding until two (2) years old of age and beyond, compliance to vaccination schedules and micronutrient supplementation, and cognitive stimulation to develop language and motor skills from birth.
EML also empowers men to take time to participate in helping their families thrive with the transferrable seven (7) days from the 105-day leave period.
“The DOH is thankful to President Rodrigo Duterte for signing this law that seeks to protect the welfare of working women and this is our gift to Filipino mothers all over the country,” the health chief concluded, emphasizing that, “clearly, the government is taking strides to make it clear that rearing healthy families involves teamwork among families, communities, and institutions, and that raising Filipino families should be inclusive among men and women." (DOH PIO)