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Bill granting 15-day leave for OFW spouses pushed

Bill granting 15-day leave for OFW spouses pushed

Quezon City Rep. Patrick Michael Vargas has filed a bill that would grant a 15-day special leave of absence every year for overseas Filipino worker (OFW) spouses employed in the private and public sectors.

In filing House Bill No. 5035, or the proposed Special Leave for Overseas Workers’ Spouses Act, Vargas said that his measure aims to ensure that OFWs’ rare vacations would be well-spent with their loved ones and “address the rising number of marriage dissolutions among transnational couples.”

In his explanatory note, the Quezon City lawmaker noted that the Philippines ranks worldwide as a major labor-sending country.

“With the proliferation of transnational families, studies have shown impacts on the mental and emotional health of children due to prolonged parent-child separations and overall transnational living arrangements,” he said.

According to Vargas, the limited number of days for leaves has prevented employees with OFW spouses from spending quality time with their vacationing husbands or wives and children.

“To ensure that OFWs’ rare vacations are well spent with their loved ones and to reinforce their familial ties, this bill aims to give every legitimate spouse-employed of an OFW in the private and public sectors an additional special leave of credit of 15 days a year with full pay, subject to certain qualifications,” he said.

Under HB 5035, employees married to OFWs who want to avail of the 15-day special leave of absence would be required to submit to their employers the name of their spouse, a copy of the marriage contract, information on their spouse’s work overseas and a copy of the OFWs’ passport.

The proposed measure, however, disqualifies from the grant: those who are absent without official leave; those who are on vacation, sick, forced, or study leave, or those who already availed of other forms of leave allowed by law; and those whose services are necessary to prevent loss of life or damage to property brought about by serious accidents, fires, floods, typhoons, earthquake, epidemic or other disasters.

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