Raising a family is no easy feat. Being a mother in itself is a full-time job, but with the rising cost of living nowadays, mothers have to step up, and go out to work for a living. Aside from a salary package to help finance and provide for the needs of the family, there are other factors working mothers should consider when looking for a new job.
It is important that job-hunting mothers know their basic employee rights as mandated by law. However, some companies are more generous than others when it comes to employee policies and benefits, and these are the ideal organizations to be a part of. Here are some suggested questions working mothers should ask when looking for a new job:
How diverse is the company’s employee headcount? Are there women in leadership positions?
As per Republic Act No. 10354 or the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012, being a mother should never be a reason to be discriminated at work. Moreover, this law prohibits employers from terminating women from work because of pregnancy. Knowing how many women are employed and if there are women in leadership positions are good indicators of a company’s inclusion and diversity agenda.
How many days is the company’s maternity leave benefit?
Under Republic Act No. 11210 or the Expanded Maternity Leave Law (EML), women in the private and public sectors now enjoy a total of 105 days of paid maternity leave for live childbirth, regardless of the mode of delivery. Luckily, some companies offer longer maternity leaves than that mandated by Philippine law. In fact, even before the signing of the EML into law, Nestlé Philippines was already been providing its employees with three months and two weeks (or 105 days) of paid maternity leave, with the option of extending for three more months, without pay.
What does the company’s lactation room look like and what is its policy on pumping breaks?
Republic Act No. 10028 or the Expanded Breastfeeding Promotion Act of 2009 states that all health and non-health facilities, establishments or institutions should have a lactation station equipped with the necessary equipment and facilities, including a lavatory for hand-washing; refrigeration or appropriate cooling facilities for storing expressed breastmilk; electrical outlets for breast pumps; a small table; and comfortable seats. At the same time, the law stipulates that breastfeeding employees are entitled to break intervals to breastfeed or express milk, in addition to the regular time-off for meals. These intervals, shall not be less than a total of 40 minutes for every 8-hour working period. Job-hunting mothers can also ask if the office is certified by the Department of Health as a Mother-Baby Friendly Workplace to ensure that the company complies with RA 10028.
How many vacation days and sick days does the company offer employees? Are there additional leaves for parents?
If you are a single mom, according to Republic Act No. 8972 or the Solo Parents’ Welfare Act of 2000, you are entitled to flexible work schedule provided that it would not affect your productivity and the organization you are working for has not requested for exemption from the Department of Labor and Employment. Aside from the mandatory 5 days annual Service Incentive Leave, most mothers and fathers also have additional parental leaves of not more than 15 working days.
What training and growth opportunities does the company provide?
Companies that invest in employee training show a commitment to skills-building and career growth. Working mothers should take this into consideration as these opportunities would help her move up the corporate ladder, expand her skillset and allow her to grow professionally.
Does the company have a Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) partner?
Getting sick can make a big dent on one’s finances, especially for working mothers. When a company has a Health Maintenance Organization or HMO benefit for its employees, this can help working moms manage the unplanned expenses that arise when she is accidentally injured, sick or has a medical concern. Some companies even have the option of including family member/s as dependents in the HMO cover so they can enjoy the same medical benefits.
Is there a Day Care Center near or within the office building?
Sometimes, mothers have to bring their children to work. Getting a babysitter at the last minute or having to find a Day Care Center near the office can be challenging. Some companies like Nestlé Philippines have Day Care Center (in the Makati Administrative Office in Rockwell) for the children of their employees aged two to four years old. The company also has an internal support group for mothers called Nestlé Mommas to encourage mothers to support each other throughout their motherhood journey.
Modern mothers should be sharp-eyed when it comes to the benefits package their potential employer is offering. They should explore building their careers in companies that prioritize their employees’ welfare, and support working mothers in their pursuit of a healthy work-life balance.