The level of disbursement was almost double the average annual release of US$126.79 million, before the maternity leave law was expanded in 2019.
The state-run pension fund in the Philippines disbursed some 10.49 billion pesos (US$215.9 million) in maternity benefits last year, according to official preliminary data.
The Social Security System (SSS) said that the level of disbursement was almost double its average annual release of 6.16 billion pesos (US$126.79 million) three years before the implementation of Philippines’ expanded maternity leave law, which was implemented in March 2019.
The latest regulation extended the duration of paid maternity leave to 105 days, from the old entitlement of 60 days.
“Since the allowed maternity leave was extended up to 105 days, it is expected that the benefit releases will also dramatically increase,” said SSS president and CEO Aurora Ignacio, according to Philstar Global.
She expects a higher number of applications for maternity benefits this year. Due to quarantine measures and “the fact that pregnant women are considered high-risk individuals during this pandemic, pregnant and even lactating mothers who are SSS members chose to stay at home and postponed their appointments”, she said.
Claims for maternity leave benefit must be filed with the SSS within 10 years from the date of delivery, miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy.