Now that you're nearing the finish line of your pregnancy, there is a deluge of things you must tick off before your little one’s arrival. One of those tasks is planning your maternity leave. You haven’t even given birth yet here you are planning your inevitable return to the workplace. This is one of the challenging and difficult tasks of a working mother. Sigh.
Normal or caesarian delivery?
Before anything else, you must know that, sadly, here in the Philippines, mothers are only allowed 60 days maternity leave for those who give birth via normal delivery; and 78 days for those who deliver through caesarian section. Hopefully this year, the 100-day maternity leave passed by the Senate will be approved. Fingers crossed. But for now, we have to make do with the 60- and 78-day maternity leave.
How to plot day one of maternity leave
Before giving birth, do not forget to plan this with your employer and with your OB-Gyne. First, consult your HR officer. Ask him or her what your benefits are. According to the law, unfortunately, employers are not entitled to give their employees salary. This came to a shock to me personally, but what can we do? Going back, you are not entitled to a single centavo while you are on maternity leave. Employers classify maternity leave as a leave of absence, so expect to not be missed. But some multinational companies, on the other hand, offer about 50 to 60 percent salary, and more than 60 and 78 days maternity leave, according to the employers’ rules. But do not count on it. The mindset is you will not receive anything and will only be entitled to 60 or 78 days calendar days (“Calendar days” mean your maternity leave includes weekends and holidays – sad.) off.
Let's say your OB-Gyne says you will give birth through normal delivery, say, on January 10. So, if you plan to take your maternity leave on January 1, you are set to return on March 2, the 61st day. And if, for some reason you undergo an emergency CS, just inform your HR officer then add 18 more days to your maternity leave. That means you will go back to work on March 20, the 79th day. Some companies will allow you to use vacation leaves to extend your maternity leave. This might be something you also want to consider to be able to spend more time with your baby.
To decide on which exact day to go on your maternity leave, consult your OB-Gyne. Once you have decided on the date, ask your doctor to issue you a medical certificate, indicating the date of you will start your maternity leave. You then hand this to your HR officer, so your employer can get ready for your departure. Also, don’t forget to inform your immediate supervisor to make sure all your pending work will be turned over properly and to the appropriate colleague.
SSS maternity benefit
Some working mothers forget about their SSS and Philhealth benefits. Finally, you can enjoy the deductions of your salary. For your SSS maternity benefit, mothers set to delivery through normal delivery or those who suffer a miscarriage are entitled to P32,000; while those who will deliver via caesarian get P41,600. Your employer should be able to give the amount in cash or via your payroll account before you give birth. This is why it is important to inform your HR officer when you plan to go on maternity leave.
For your Philhealth maternity benefit, it depends on your type of delivery and hospital or medical facitlity. Mothers who give birth in a lying-in/maternity clinic or small hospital can cover up to P8,000 off your final bill.
For normal deliveries done in hospitals ranked level 2 to 4, you can enjoy up to P11,400 of coverage. Caesarian deliveries can be covered for a fixed amount of P19,000.
Again, ask your HR officer for a piece of paper which includes your past Philhealth contributions. You will present this document to the cashier when you are about to be discharged. Take note that your OB-Gyne or midwife’s professional fee will not be covered by Philhealth.
For employed Philhealth members, the requirement is at least three months’ contribution within the six months before availment. For individually paying members, you are required a total of nine months of contributions within 12 months prior to availment.
Now you're ready!
Now that you have your SSS, Philhealth and medical certificate ready, you are ready to give birth to your little one! Before all the chaos and sleepless nights – congratulations and good luck!
Got something to add? Feel free to be heard on the comments sections below. - Aimee Morales Chan