MANILA – Companies might resort to hiring men instead of women after the Expanded Maternity Leave bill, which grants working mothers with 105 days of paid leave, was enacted into law, an employers' group leader said Friday.
The measure could also hurt the operating costs of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) or 99.6 percent of businesses in the country, Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) president Sergio Ortiz-Luis Jr told radio DZMM.
“Although merong [anti] discriminatory provisions sa ating mga batas, kung ikaw naman 'yung employer at may choice ka later on kung kukuha ka ng empleyado, siyempre hindi mo kukunin 'yung mga madalas mabuntis at magbabayad ka ng napakatagal,” Ortiz-Luis said.
(Although there are [anti] discriminatory provisions in our laws, if you're the employer and you have a choice, of course, you will not hire those that get pregnant often and pay for a long time)
“At the end, it was against women, meron maraming babae na mapeperwisyo dahil magpapasa tayo ng mga batas na ganyan (a lot of women will be put in jeopardy because we're passing such laws),” he said.
He said the extended number of paid leaves for working mothers puts the country at par with global standards, but also entails additional costs especially to small businesses.
“'Yan (MSMEs) ang mahihirapan dahil alam niyo lahat ng tumataas, yung mga micro ay hirap na hirap. Marami diyan nagsasara, marami din d'yan nalulugi tapos sasalpakan mo ng mga ganito,” he said.
(With any hike, small entrepreneurs either suffer from losses or bankruptcy because of these.)
Despite ECOP's concerns, the association “is willing to try to live" with the new law, he said.
President Rodrigo Duterted signed Republic Act 11210 or the Expanded Maternity Leave bill on Wednesday, Feb. 20.