“Oh the glory of having kids!” Yep, so we’ve heard. After 7 months of being married, we’ve grown familiar to the community of people either eager to have children or not have children, and those who are busy poking their noses into other people’s reproductive life.
Anyway, now that reproduction is often raised in conversations, I realized that I’ve not written about maternity and paternity leaves yet. Since maternity leave is a bit more complex, I’ll touch on the fathers’ privilege first. I’m certain that paternity leave is already known to many civil servants considering that the law granting it has been existing since July 5, 1996. But, for those who are new to government service and others needing clarification, I hope you find this post helpful.
What is paternity leave?
Paternity leave is a a 7-day leave privilege with full pay granted to a married male employee when his legitimate spouse has delivered a child or suffered a miscarriage. By “legitimate spouse”, the law refers to that woman whom the male employee has entered a contract of marriage with.
What is the purpose of granting paternity leave?
The privilege is granted so that the employee may effectively support his wife during recovery and nursing of the newly born child. (I really think our legislators need to add more days to this particular leave. 7 days just seem short for “effective” support in recovery and nursing especially if the wife delivered via CS. Do you agree?)
Who are entitled to avail of this leave?
Every married male government employee who holds a regular position item as well as casuals and contractuals with existing appointments may avail of this leave benefit for the first four deliveries of his legitimate spouse with whom he is cohabiting with. By “cohabiting”, the law means that the spouses must be living together except if one lives abroad or there are other valid reasons for exemption. There will be no exemption if the reason for non-cohabitation is incompatible with the family’s solidarity such as if the man/woman has began living with another person other than his/her spouse. Job orders and outsourced personnel are not entitled to avail of this leave because they do not have any direct employer-employee relationship with the government.
My religion allows me to have more than 1 spouse, does that mean I can avail of paternity leave 4 times for each of them?
No. Married male employees with more than one legal spouse may only avail paternity leave for an absolute maximum of four deliveries regardless of whichever spouse gives birth.
How can this leave be availed of?
The married male employee must file a leave application form within a reasonable period prior to the expected delivery date except in cases of miscarriage and abnormal deliveries which were unforeseen.
Is the approval of paternity leave application mandatory?
If the applicant if eligible for this benefit, the approval of his leave application is mandatory on the part of the approving authority unless his services are urgently needed to preserve life and property. In such case, he will be entitled to overtime pay.
Will I be required to submit documents in support of my leave application?
Yes. The agency may require the applicant to submit a certified true copy of his marriage contract, the birth certificate of the newly born child, or the medical certificate with pathology reports duly signed by the attending physician/midwife, in case of miscarriage.
If I did not avail of this leave before or immediately after my wife’s delivery or miscarriage, can I still avail of it later on?
Yes. Paternity leave may be availed of not later than 60 days from the child’s delivery or miscarriage and may be enjoyed continuously or intermittently. This 60-day period is a new rule and will be effective on January 22, 2016. (See link to CSC MC No 1, s. 2016 below)
If I failed to avail of this leave during my wife’s first delivery, can I have 14 days paternity leave on her second delivery? Can I convert it to cash?
No. Paternity leave is non-cumulative, which means that if you fail to avail of it within 60 days from your wife’s delivery/miscarriage, it is deemed forfeited. Neither can it be converted to cash at any time.
What are the consequences if I file a fraudulent claim/application for paternity leave?
Any government official or employee who is found guilty of filing a fraudulent claim will be punished with dismissal from the service for dishonesty. Criminally, those found violating any provisions of RA 8187 or its implementing rules will be punished with a fine not exceeding 25,000 Pesos or imprisonment for a minimum of 30 days to a maximum of 6 months.
Featured image by Jason Nelson, in-text photo by Simona Balint, both taken from www.freeimages.com