You’re probably aware of your rights to a sick or vacation leave — heck, you might have used up all your paid leaves by now. But, did you know that the female employees in the Philippines are entitled to special leave benefits as well?
No, we’re not talking about maternity leave. Instead, this is something we can rely on in the event that we go through a medical procedure concerning our reproductive health.
The Magna Carta of Women
Under the Republic Act 9710, also known as The Magna Carta of Women, a female employee shall be entitled to up to two months of special leave with full pay following surgery caused by gynecological disorders. This benefit is in addition to leave privileges (sick leaves, vacation leaves, and parental leaves for solo parents) given to employees under existing law.
Among the most common examples of gynecological disorders are dysmenorrhea, uterine fibroids, and polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS. But as mentioned, you can’t ask for a two-month leave simply because you’re experiencing painful menstrual cramps (but, we should get a half day off, at least, right?). The Magna Carta of Women Special Leave Benefits Program only covers female employees who need to undergo gynecological procedures or surgeries, whether it’s a minor or a major one.
How Long Can You Take a Leave from Work?
Women who are advised to undergo ovarian cyst aspiration, breast biopsy and other gynecological procedures that require two weeks or less of recuperation period may be entitled to up to two weeks of special leave benefits. By contrast, those who have to undergo total abdominal hysterectomy, total mastectomy, and other major procedures may receive two months of special leave benefits.
After all, these surgeries are no small thing. They can take a toll on a woman’s body. In fact, the average recovery period for these procedures is between three weeks to two months. So, if you had to endure a major gynecological surgery, it is only fitting that your employer gives you the adequate rest you deserve.
So, Are You Qualified for this Benefit?
If you’re an employee in the private sector, you qualify for special leave benefits provided that you comply with the following conditions:
- You have rendered at least six months of continuous work for the last twelve months before the surgery;
- You have filed an application for special leave within a reasonable period of time from the expected date of surgery (except in cases requiring emergency gynecological procedure);
- You have undergone a procedure due to a gynecological disease certified by a competent physician
Again, the special leave benefits may entitle you to full pay for two months, which includes your basic monthly income and mandatory allowances. You should remember, however, that these special benefits are non-cumulative and non-convertible to cash (like your unused sick or vacation leaves) unless otherwise stated in the company rules.
Of course, these benefits are some of the things you should never wish for. But at least, with the existence of Magna Carta of Women Special Leave Benefits Program, you can rest assured knowing that the company you serve eight hours a day, five days a week will take care of you during one of the most difficult times in your life.