Paternity 101: Understanding The Basics And Benefits Of Paternity Leave In The Philippines

Joanna Marie Santos

May 23, 2023

article image

Being a parent is never a walk in the park. Especially for parents who are new to the game, or in other cases, not even playing the game yet. For expecting parents, the preparation can feel endless and stressful since you only want to make the right decisions. At the same time, it can also feel like there is just not enough time to rest once the baby arrives. For mothers, there are multiple laws specifically designed to improve the experience of the mother postpartum, but this unfortunately does not extend to the fathers. 

Nowadays, society is actively adapting to the changes in modern culture and past traditions. As such, the previously non-existent laws on paternity rights after birth are being authored, with some already enacted as laws. Society is now recognizing the importance of paternity leave, and its purpose for the overall welfare of the Filipino family. Paternity leave is often overshadowed by its counterpart, and while it does make perfect sense for the mother to have an extended time of rest, a father should also be entitled to receive sufficient time to stay with his wife and child, or with a partner who still needs care and attention.

At a crucial and sensitive time in parenthood, paternity leave is a human right that allows new parents to stay together after a life-changing moment in their lives. Increasing the benefits of paternity leave is important, and educating ourselves about our current rights is the first step to improving the existing laws regarding this. In this article, we will discuss the most useful information and benefits of paternity leave in the Philippines.

Paternity Leave In The Philippine Setting

At first glance, the basics of paternity leave in the Philippines might seem limited— at its most basic function, it is. Currently, a father with a wife who recently gave birth or suffered a miscarriage can file for 7 days of full-paid leave, as mandated by the government under Section 3 of RA 8187. 

This 7-day paternity leave can allow a father to give full attention to his family, but for many couples, this length of leave can be too short. This is because the care that a newborn requires does not easily lessen after 7 days. As a result, an employed father will have to go back to work and leave his partner to recover from birth alone, while taking care of their newborn child. 

Many have raised their concerns about the limited length of paternity leave available in the Philippines. As such, laws such as section 6 of RA 11220 include the transfer of maternity leave days to the father, if they are qualified to avail. However, it is important to note that this might extend paternity leave, but it directly lowers the number of days that a mother can rest and take care of a newborn child. 

The Benefits of Paternity Leave

While paternity leave in the Philippines might seem very limited to some, it still offers benefits to Filipino fathers who need to focus on taking care of their wives and infant child. The benefits of paternity leave do not stay within the four corners of a growing household. Paternity leave also benefits our country’s society by improving the culture and traditions we have revolving around family roles. Below are some of the benefits of paternity leave in the Philippines.

Father-And-Child Bonding With The Newborn

They may not remember their first few days, but you will. For many fathers, paternity leave allows them the indispensable chance of spending time with their newborn child in the first days of their lives. Fathers can stay beside their partner and their child, allowing them to be at their beck and call any time of the day. For dads, this can increase precious bonding time with their newborn child. Paternity leave can also give them more time to help and appreciate their child during such an irreplaceable moment in their lives. 

Support For Work-Life Balance

Nowadays, we are increasingly becoming aware of the importance of maintaining a healthy, balanced schedule and establishing a clear boundary between work life and personal life. Paternity leaves allow people to have enough time to leave work behind and completely enjoy and be present at the start of a new chapter in their lives. Fathers who avail of paternity leave can become a father and a husband for a while, without having to worry about work responsibilities in the back of their minds. As a result, there can be less stress on the couple’s situation and they can have time to adjust to being parents. 

Reducing Gender Stereotypes and Biases

One of the most important benefits of paternity leave is its contribution to reducing gender stereotypes and biases about individuals. In most traditional settings, a father is only expected to work while the mother is expected to become a full-time mother with no career prospects. Paternity leave helps people recognize the actual need for a person to become involved in their newborn’s life, regardless if they are the father or the mother. 

Fostering Father’s Rights

Paternity leave plays an important role in fostering the irreplaceable bond between a father and his newborn child. At one of the most important times of their lives, paternity leave can help improve a father’s emotional connection with his family, especially with his partner who has gone through a life-changing stage in life, and their child who is completely dependent and require round-the-clock care and attention.  

As the Philippines continue to move forward, improvement in necessary family laws like paternal leave should continue to appear. People should also express the importance of this law and become advocates for further improvements. By embracing the value of paternity leave in Filipino families, society can create an environment that puts importance on the role of an involved and responsible father.