The financing need for expanding paid maternity leave to support breastfeeding in the informal sector in the Philippines

January 21, 2021

In the Philippines, workers in the informal economy are not guaranteed paid maternity leave. A non‐contributory maternity cash transfer to informal sector workers could improve social equity, economic productivity, and public health and nutrition through supporting breastfeeding. Using a costing framework developed in Mexico the study estimates the program’s annual costs would range from a minimum scenario of USD42 million (14‐week maternity cash transfer) to a more ideal scenario of USD309 million (26‐week maternity cash transfer). The latter is financially feasible, making up less than .1% of the country’s GDP and far lower than the cost of not breastfeeding, making up .7% of the GDP.