The thought that there’s a tiny human being inside our bellies is just so overwhelming that we tend to overthink and forget a few things that may appear the least in our priority but are actually vital especially if you are a working mom.
So before you decide what to name your baby, read the quick guide to help you file those maternity leave and benefits.
Before we go through the guide, a note about 120-day Maternity Leave bill. As of this writing (and contrary to news that has been going around on social media), the bill has NOT been enacted into law yet after it passed the Senate last year. SmartParenting.com.ph had an update last March, and we are still waiting on the counterpart bill from the House of Representatives to be approved and passed. Then, it will still undergo a bicameral committee hearing before a final proposal is submitted for the Philippine president's signature.
The current law allows for 60 calendar days of maternity leave for normal delivery, while birth by cesarean section stretches the maternity leave to 78 calendar days. However, there are companies in the Philippines that give their female employees more than 60 days of paid maternity leave as part of their total rewards program.
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What are SSS maternity benefits exactly? SSS defines maternity benefits as a daily cash allowance granted to a female member who was unable to work due to childbirth or miscarriage.
The benefits are given to employed women who qualify for both these conditions:
have paid at least three monthly contributions within the 12-month period immediately preceding the semester of her childbirth or miscarriage
have given the required notification of her pregnancy through their company if employed, or directly to SSS if self-employed.
According to the SSS website, female employees (married or not) who have given birth, had an ectopic pregnancy, or a miscarriage, can avail the SSS maternity benefit.
How soon can I file for the maternity benefit? We suggest that you notify your employer and file all the necessary paperwork as soon as you find out you’re expecting.
What are the forms and documents needed when filing for the maternity benefit? If employed, fill out the Maternity Notification Form or SSS FORM MAT-1 and submit this along with the proof of pregnancy to your human resources department, which will take care of notifying SSS on your behalf. Proof of pregnancy can be any of the following: your pregnancy test stick, an ultrasound report, or a medical certificate from your doctor. Some companies may ask for a combination of any of these proofs.
For self-employed/work-at-home moms, only the MAT-1 form is needed.
Will my 5th pregnancy/delivery still be covered under our existing law? No. SSS maternity benefits are paid only for the first four deliveries or miscarriages, regardless if the member is a claimant.
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What if I miscarry? Can I apply for maternity benefits? Yes. You are also given 60 calendar days of leave when you miscarry. Here’s a list of documents that you need to submit when filing your maternity benefits:
For complete miscarriage (D&C* was not performed)
Maternity Benefit Application (if voluntary or self-employed)
Maternity Benefit Reimbursement Application or MAT-2 (if employed)
MAT-1 (stamped by SSS before the date of miscarriage)
SSS ID card / Unified ID
Pregnancy test result or ultrasound report before and after a miscarriage
Medical certificate issued by attending doctor
For incomplete miscarriage (D&C was performed) The same list of documents as above except #7, plus D&C and Histopathology reports both certified by an authorized hospital representative.
How soon will I be paid the maternity benefit? Some companies give the benefit in full within 30 days from the date of filing of maternity leave application. While there are some that provide 50% before the employee goes on leave, and the other half after delivery upon submission of documents like clinical abstract, operative record, and complete obstetrical history — all signed by your ob-gyn.
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Are there documents that I still need to submit to our HR representative as soon as I go back to work? Be ready to present your "Fit to Work" clearance signed by your ob-gyn. This is actually the form that many working moms forget after giving birth. You are not advised to work until you have submitted it. Your employer will also ask you to accomplish the MAT-2 form or Maternity Benefit Reimbursement Application form and submit it along with your baby’s birth certificate (a copy or certified true copy by the Philippine Statistics Authority). Depending on your company’s policy and guidelines, these documents need to be submitted within 30 days from the date of delivery.
*D&C or dilation and curettage is a surgical procedure often performed after a first-trimester miscarriage. Dilation refers to opening the cervix; curettage refers to removing the contents of the uterus.
Though she works as a full-time HR advisor, Carol Amistad is a proud hands-on mom to a sweet girl named Zoey and the family's newest bundle of joy, Ethan. She makes sure that her weekends and holidays are well-spent with the hubby and the kids.