Senate passes Maternity bill

Senate yesterday, passed Maternity SB 10-52, SD3, PD1 on its 3rd and final reading.
This PD1 version or President’s version expanded on the bill that originally mandated all employers to provide one month paid maternity leave with another month leave without pay for new mothers. The original version, SB 10-52, SD3, applied only to Palauan women and women married to Palauan men.
PD1 version expanded the coverage to all female employees in the public and private sector regardless of nationality. It also included leave for fathers and parents who adopt a child.
President Remengesau justified the wider coverage saying that “If employers must pay Palauan workers during periods of leave but not need to pay foreign workers in the same way, then employers will be incentivized to hire foreign workers, placing Palauans at a disadvantage.”
The bill passed will make it mandatory for employers to provide paid annual leave and paid sick leave for all employees. Currently, there is no law requiring employers to provide paid annual leave and sick leave for their employees. Only national government’s Civil Service mandates paid annual and sick leave for its employees.
Paid annual and sick leave apply only to employers with five or more employees and have annual gross revenue of $500,000. The maternity leave applies to all employers regardless of size.
This bill includes maternity leave as well as annual and sick leave for all employees, a wider coverage that both Senate and House of Delegates have not held conducted public hearings on. The bill is yet to pass the House.
The bill sets up penalty of up to five thousand ($5,000) paid to an aggrieved employee by the employer plus other costs of bringing the case to court.

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