Heartbreak leave anyone? Bill filed for the broken-hearted

How do you mend a broken heart? 

A member of the House of Representatives is offering a solution by filing a bill granting unpaid heartbreak leave to government and private sector employees following a terminated romantic relationship.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Lordan Suan made the proposal House Bill 9931 or the Heartbreak Recovery and Resilience Act, saying that the measure would address a significant yet often overlooked factor that impacts employee performance and engagement: the emotional turmoil associated with breakups.

“Studies reveal the substantial toll breakups take on individuals, affecting their emotional and mental well-being, leading to decreased productivity, absenteeism, and higher healthcare costs. Recognizing this reality, the bill acknowledges the legitimacy of emotional distress stemming from personal life and offers crucial support during this challenging time,” Suan said in his explanatory note.

“By allowing time and space for emotional processing, [the heartbreak] leave can lead to improved focus and performance upon return,” he added.

Under his proposal, the number of unpaid heartbreak leaves will vary based on the age bracket such as:

one heartbreak leave in a year for employees aged below 25 two heartbreak leaves in a year for employees aged 25 to 35 and three heartbreak leaves in a year for employees aged 36 and above

Younger employees, Suan said, face societal pressure to quickly bounce back and may benefit from shorter leave periods while older individuals navigating complex family dynamics or financial dependencies might require longer periods.

“This varying approach ensures equitable access to leave while recognizing individual needs and circumstances,” he said.

Further, the bill also mandates the Department of Labor and Employment and the Civil Service Commission (CSC), in collaboration with mental health professionals, to develop and disseminate evidence-based resources on navigating heartbreak and emotional well-being to government offices, employers, and employees.

The heartbroken employees, however, cannot avail of the heartbreak leave on a whim since the bill mandates them to provide their employees a signed statement confirming the dissolution of their romantic relationship within the past 30 days.

Suan, however, maintained that the measure is a win-win solution for both the employers and employees.

“Beyond addressing individual needs, the bill fosters gender equality in the workplace. Research suggests women disproportionately experience economic and emotional hardship following breakups. By offering equal access to leave, the Heartbreak Recovery and Resilience Act promotes equity,” he said.

“In light of these, this bill’s approval is fervently sought,” he added. —NB, GMA Integrated News

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