Issue of June 18, 2017

Plus Juan
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Thank you for the maternity leave extension
Maternity leave is one of the benefits of working mothers pursuant to Commonwealth Act 647, as amended by Republic Act 270 and the recently passed Expanded Maternity Leave Law. Regular teachers with two and a half or more years of service are entitled to 60 days of maternity leave with full pay while those with less than two and a half years of service are entitled to 60 days with half pay. Temporary teachers with at least two years of service are entitled to 60 days of maternity leave with half pay. However, a 60-day leave is not enough especially if the baby’s parents are both working.

I experienced this with my children. Just after my maternity leave, I needed to climb mountains holding my two-months old baby because my work station is on top of the mountain. My body still hurt and my baby was just starting to adapt to the cold weather but I had no choice then but to wake up early and prepare for work.

I am only in my late 20’s but I feel so old. I easily catch cold and I get tired easily. My mother told me this is the effect of working immediately just after giving birth, especially that I gave birth through caesarian. My wound has not yet fully recovered but I was forced to work.

My husband is also a teacher so we need to hire a househelp to look after our children. Sadly, despite of our effort, we couldn’t find someone willing to stay with us. As a result, I was forced to leave my baby to my younger brother who lives kilometers away from us. It is very painful for a mother to leave her child at very young age. I only visit them once a week and it hurts so much to see them asleep when we arrive and leave them the next morning crying. There were times I thought of giving up my job just to be with them but I realized we need money for our daily needs.

During those times, I cannot concentrate on my teaching. Every time I see my pupils or a mother carrying her child, I cannot help but think of my children. I educate my pupils about the importance of having their parents to guide them but I, myself cannot do it with my kids.

This is why I am grateful for the extended maternity leave, which is from 60days to 120 days. Working mothers who are still planning to have their children will not experience the hardships we’ve been through. Also, this is not only a big help to the mothers and their children but a benefit to the department they are working. There is no reason for the mothers to not be productive because they will fully recover from giving birth before they start working again. A healthy working mother is a productive employee, which leads to a productive economy.

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