Being a mother is one of the most fulfilling roles for some women. In the midst of poverty, the pandemic, loss of jobs, and economic uncertainty, more and more Filipino women are still becoming a mother and considering it a special blessing. Good news there is Maternity Benefits that can every upcoming mothers financially.
The average number of babies born every day in the Philippines is 7,255, which is around 302 live births per hour. This number contributes to the 111+ million total population of the country (as of August 2021) and composes 1.41% of the total world population.
At present, the government continues to assist Filipino mothers through SSS and PhilHealth maternity benefits. The 60-day maternity leave period has also been increased to 105 days because of the Expanded Maternity Leave Law.
But are Filipino mothers getting the best benefits from the government? How SSS maternity benefits in the Philippines compare to those of other countries? What forms of assistance can new and expectant mothers receive from the government, especially from the SSS, and how can they avail of these?
SSS Maternity Benefits in the Philippines vs Other Countries
The Save the Children Federation published the State of the World’s Mothers Report in 2015 that ranked the best countries to be a mother. Rankings were based on generous paid maternity leave, maternal health, and children’s well-being, among others. The Philippines landed on the 105th spot among 179 countries.
According to the report, these are the top 10 countries with the best maternity leave benefits:
- Norway – 45 weeks of maternity leave at 80% pay, or 35 weeks of maternity leave with full-time pay
- Finland – 17.5 weeks of maternity leave, or 13 weeks fully paid time off
- Iceland – 13 weeks of paid leave at 59% of a woman’s full-time salary
- Denmark – 18 weeks of maternity leave with 14 weeks paid at 53.6% of full-time salary
- Sweden – 480 days of parental leave for both parents where both parents receive 390 days of paid leave at 80% of their salary
- Netherlands – 16 weeks of maternity leave with full-time pay + access to a maternity nurse with costs covered in part by insurance
- Spain – 16 weeks of maternity leave with a full-time salary
- Germany – 14 weeks of maternity leave with a full-time salary
- Australia – 18 weeks of paid maternity leave at 42% of the woman’s salary or 7.5 weeks of full-time pay
- Belgium – 15 weeks of paid maternity leave at 64% of the woman’s salary or 9.6 weeks of full-time pay
Compared to these countries, the Philippines offers up to 15 weeks of paid maternity leaves. However, the number of days is not the only factor that put these countries in the top 10.
The Philippines lags behind in terms of child health interventions, medical facilities, and economic status. Still, the report stated that we’ve been successful in addressing the health needs of the poorest families. The SSS and PhilHealth maternity benefits, as well the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), are examples of government efforts to improve the health and nutrition of households with children and pregnant women.
What is SSS Maternity Benefit?
This maternity benefit granted by the SSS is a daily cash allowance for covered female members who are unable to work due to childbirth, miscarriage, or emergency termination of pregnancy (including stillbirth).
Who Can Receive SSS Maternity Benefits in the Philippines?
Female private employees, government employees, self-employed individuals, and national athletes covered by the SSS can avail of maternity benefits upon meeting the following requirements:
- For private employees and self-employed women: At least three posted monthly SSS contributions within 12 months immediately before the semester of delivery, miscarriage, or abortion (For example, if you expect to give birth in June 2021, you should have paid at least three monthly contributions from January 2019 to December 2019.)
- Notification and proof of pregnancy (ultrasound report, medical certificate, or pregnancy test stick) sent to the employer (for private workers), head of the agency (for government workers), or directly to the SSS through the My.SSS portal or SSS Mobile App (for OFW, self-employed, and unemployed members)
SSS Benefits Under the Expanded Maternity Leave Law
1. Paid Maternity Leave
Under the Expanded Maternity Leave Law (Republic Act 11210) the SSS pays qualified SSS members a cash benefit equivalent to 100% of their average daily salary credit.
The paid leave lasts for up to a certain number of days as specified by the law:
- 105 days for live childbirth, regardless if it’s a normal or caesarean delivery
- 120 days for single mothers who are giving birth (105 days plus additional 15 days)
- 60 days for women who had a miscarriage or emergency termination of pregnancy
Prior to the Expanded Maternity Leave Law, the SSS granted only 60 days of paid leave for normal delivery and 78 days of paid leave for caesarian delivery. The extended maternity leave duration gives mothers a longer time to prepare for childbirth, recover after giving birth, and take care of their newborns.
Your employer may provide longer maternity leaves beyond what the law mandates. Check your employment contract and collective bargaining agreement (CBA) or ask your HR department about it.
Another change imposed by the new maternity leave law is that there’s no limit to the number of covered pregnancies. Regardless of how many times you get pregnant, you’ll receive maternity benefits from the SSS each time you give birth or have a miscarriage/stillbirth. Previously, the granting of SSS maternity benefits is limited to the first four child deliveries or miscarriages.
2. Optional Maternity Leave Extension
On top of the mandatory 105 days of paid leave, SSS members who gave birth may choose to extend their maternity leave for 30 additional days without pay. You may avail of the maternity leave extension as long as you notify your employer in writing at least 45 days before the end of your maternity leave.
3. Optional Allocation of Maternity Leave to the Child’s Father
You also have the option to transfer seven days of your paid maternity leave to the baby’s father, whether you’re married to him or not. This applies only to cases of live childbirth.
If the child’s father is deceased, missing, or incapable of childcare, you may allocate the seven-day leave credits to a relative or your current partner you’re living with, regardless of gender identity.
If you’re availing of the optional maternity leave allocation, you should notify your employer about it. The father or alternate caregiver who will receive the allocated leave credits must notify his/her employer as well.
How Much is the Maternity Benefit in SSS for 2021?
Eligible SSS members may receive maternity benefits of up to PHP 80,000 – 120,000. The maximum benefit applies to members with a monthly salary credit (MSC) of PHP 20,000 (those earning PHP 19,750 and above per month).
SSS Maternity Benefit Computation
Total amount of SSS maternity benefit = (Average monthly salary credit ÷ 180) x Number of paid leave days
Using the formula above, here are the steps to compute your SSS maternity benefits:
1. Exclude the semester of delivery or miscarriage from the computation. For example, if your expected delivery date is June 2021, exclude the period from January to June 2021.
2. Count 12 months backward starting from the month right before the semester of delivery or miscarriage. Based on the example above, the 12-month period is from January to December 2020.
3. Get the sum of the six highest MSCs within the 12-month period. To find your MSC, refer to the SSS contribution table. For example, if your monthly salary for January to December 2020 is PHP 30,000, your MSC is PHP 20,000. The sum of your six highest MSCs would be PHP 120,000 (PHP 20,000 x 6).
4. Divide your average MSC by 180 days to compute your average daily salary credit (ADSC), which is equivalent to your daily maternity allowance. If your average MSC is PHP 120,000, your ADSC is PHP 666.67.
5. Multiply your ADSC by the number of days you’re taking maternity leave to get the total amount of your SSS maternity benefit. That’s 105 days for normal or caesarean delivery, 120 days for solo parent, or 60 days for miscarriage, abortion, or stillbirth. Deduct seven days if you’ll transfer your leave credits to the child’s father or an alternate caregiver.
Sample SSS Maternity Benefit Computation
Based on the details above, here’s an example of how to compute your SSS maternity benefit.
- For normal/caesarian delivery: (PHP 120,000 ÷ 180) x 105 days = PHP 70,000
- For solo parents: (PHP 120,000 ÷ 180) x 120 days = PHP 80,000
- For miscarriage/abortion/stillbirth: (PHP 120,000 ÷ 180) x 60 days = PHP 40,000
That’s the amount you’ll receive from the SSS if your salary is in the maximum MSC of PHP 20,000.
Note that you should still receive your full pay for the entire duration of your maternity leave. The Expanded Maternity Leave Law requires employers to pay for the salary differential, which is the difference between their covered employees’ full salary and the actual cash benefit from the SSS.
When Can I Get My SSS Maternity Benefit?
Your employer is required by law to pay your full maternity benefit within 30 days since you filed your maternity leave. The SSS will then reimburse the full amount that your employer paid to you. For self-employed or voluntary members, the SSS will pay the benefit directly to them. SSS Maternity Benefit can notify the SSS regarding their pregnancy thru online or text notification.
Until when can I confirm receipt of the maternity benefit advance payment?
Members who received their maternity benefits in advance shall confirm receipt within seven days from the date in the SSS email.
What happens if I don’t receive the advance payment or confirm receipt?
The Maternity Benefit Reimbursement Adjustment (MBRA) will be canceled and your employer shall refile or re-submit it as a new application.
Should I be legally married to qualify for SSS maternity benefits this 2021?
The Expanded Maternity Leave Law doesn’t require claimants to be married to be eligible for maternity benefits. All female workers who have met the required number of contributions can apply for SSS maternity benefit regardless of her civil status or the legitimacy of the child.
Moreover, unmarried pregnant employees can also apply as a Solo Parent upon submission of supporting documents.
How long should I wait for my SSS maternity benefits payment?
Your maternity leave benefits payment should be given by your employer within 30 days after filing your application. The SSS will reimburse the payment of your employer once proof of payments are submitted.
Can my employer terminate my employment after I avail the 105 days of leave credits?
Those who avail of the SSS maternity benefit shall have the security of tenure (Section 15). Availing of leave credits should not be a basis of demotion or termination.