Paternity Leave

1. Concept

Paternity leave – refers to the legally mandated leave credits extended to married male employees “for purposes of enabling him to effectively lend support to his wife in her period of recovery and/or in the nursing of the newly-born child.” (R.A. 8187, Section 3).

a. Legal basis

Laws / RegulationsProvisions
1) Republic Act No. 8187, Paternity Leave Act of 1996Section 3

1) R.A. 8186

SEC. 2. Notwithstanding any law, rules and regulations to the contrary, every married male employee in the private and public sectors shall be entitled to a paternity leave of seven (7) days with full pay for the first four (4) deliveries of the legitimate spouse with whom he is cohabiting. The male employee applying for paternity leave shall notify his employer of the pregnancy of his legitimate spouse and the expected date of such delivery.
For purposes of this Act, delivery shall include childbirth or any miscarriage.
SEC. 3. Definition of Term. – For purposes of this Act, Paternity Leave refers to the benefits granted to a married male employee allowing him not to report for work for seven (7) days but continues to earn the compensation therefor, on the condition that his spouse has delivered a child or suffered a miscarriage for purposes of enabling him to effectively lend support to his wife in her period of recovery and/or in the nursing of the newly-born child. (R.A. 8187 [1996])

2. Covered employees

All married male employees whose legitimate spouse is pregnant or has undergone delivery or miscarriage are the covered employees.

a. Married male employees

Covered male employees must be legally married to their legitimate wife.

Thus, paternity leave benefits under R.A. 8187 does not cover male employees who are not legally married to their romantic partners, i.e., in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship.

b. Employment status, irrelevant

The employment status of covered male employees is irrelevant.

Otherwise stated, covered male employees are entitled to holiday pay whether or not they are regular, probationary, casual, project, seasonal, or fixed-term.

c. Method of payment, irrelevant

How covered male employees are paid is also irrelevant.

Simply put, covered male employees are entitled to paternity leave, whether or not they are daily-paid or monthly-paid, piece-rate, pakyao, takay, or engaged on task basis.

3. The Benefit

The benefit consists of seven (7) days of leave credits with full pay. (R.A. 8187, Section 3)

a. First four deliveries

The benefit applies to the first four (4) deliveries of the male employee’s legal wife. (R.A. 8187, Section 2)

a. The Computation

The leave credit is equal to the basic salary, including mandatory and/or integrated allowances. The pay shall not be less than the minimum wage.

b. Non-convertible to cash

The benefit is not convertible to cash. This means that the covered male employee is unable to convert to cash the leave credits if they are unused by the end of the year – unlike service incentive leaves. That is because the purpose of the paternity leave credits is to afford the covered male employee the opportunity to attend to his legitimate wife after her pregnancy. (See DOLE-BWC Handbook, p. 31)

c. Non-cumulative

The benefit is not cumulative, i.e. unused benefit cannot be added to the next delivery or miscarriage.

4. Conditions for entitlement

The following are the conditions for entitlement:

1) That the covered married male employee “is cohabiting with his spouse at the time that she gives birth or suffers a miscarriage”;

2) That he “applied for paternity leave with his employer within a reasonable period of time from the expected date of delivery by his pregnant spouse, or within such period as may be provided by company rules and regulations or by collective bargaining agreement, provided that prior application for leave shall not be required in case of miscarriage”; and

3) That his wife “has given birth or suffered a miscarriage”. (DOLE-BWC Handbook, p. 32)

NB: The DOLE-BWC Handbook includes as a condition that the covered male employee be “an employee at the time of delivery of his child”. It is respectfully submitted that this goes without saying already as these are non-convertible leave credits. Meaning, an married male employee who has already resigned or has exited the company cannot claim for the conversion of the paternity leave credits since they are non-convertible.

a. Cohabiting with his spouse

Cohabiting – refers to “the obligation of the husband and wife to live together.” (DOLE-BWC Handbook, p. 32)

However, the husband and wife do not need to always be living together as there may be justifying circumstances as to why they are living separately, including but not limited to; (a) work assignments or deployments; (b) due to the male employee’s profession, occupation, or trade (e.g. uniformed personnel, firefighters, policemen, etc.); (c) overseas work; (d) medical reasons (e.g. quarantined, Covid-19, etc. In such cases, paternity leave is still due to the covered male employees as they may still lend support through various means such as videocalls, sending money, assisting in tasks (e.g. making medical/hospital assignments), filling-out forms, etc. (See DOLE-BWC Handbook, p. 32)

b. Reasonable notice to the employer; with exception

The application should be made within a reasonable period of time to give the employer an opportunity to make adjustments while the male employee is on leave. (DOLE-BWC Handbook, p. 32)

However, for miscarriage, prior application is not required. (DOLE-BWC Handbook, p. 32)

c. Wife has delivery or miscarriage

Under R.A. 8189, the covered male employee’s legitimate spouse should have delivered a child or experienced a miscarriage to avail of the paternity leave benefits.

NB: While the law provides for delivery or miscarriage as a condition for paternity leave benefits, the use of such leave credits may be allowed before or during the delivery through favorable employee stipulations in the employment contract, company policy, collective bargaining agreement (CBA), or other employment agreements.

1) Girlfriend or mistress, excluded

The paternity leave benefit does not apply to a covered male employee’s girlfriend or mistress who gave birth or experienced a miscarriage. As provided for by law, the covered male employee may only avail of the paternity leave benefits for his legitimate spouse/wife.

9. Favorable employee stipulations

The above discussion may be superseded by any stipulation favorable to the employee via an employment contract, company policies, collective bargaining agreement, or analogous thereto.

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