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EDITORIAL: Heartbreak Leave

IN a move that acknowledges the often underestimated impact of personal struggles on professional life, Cagayan de Oro 1st District Rep. Lordan Suan filed House Bill (HB) No. 9931, known as the “Heartbreak Recovery and Resilience Act.”

This bill, introduced on Valentine’s Day, proposes to grant heartbreak leaves to government and private sector workers, recognizing the emotional turmoil associated with breakups as a significant factor influencing employee performance.

“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.

The bill offers a nuanced approach, considering age-related differences in coping with heartbreak. Workers under 25 may take one day of unpaid heartbreak leave annually, while those between 25 and 35 are entitled to two days, and individuals aged 36 and older can take three days.

This recognition of varying needs based on age reflects a thoughtful understanding of the diverse challenges individuals face during emotional distress.

To qualify for heartbreak leave, employees must provide a signed statement confirming the dissolution of their romantic relationship within the past 30 days.

Additionally, the bill emphasizes the importance of notice, requiring employees to inform their employers at least 48 hours in advance, unless exigent circumstances prevent such notice.

The bill goes beyond a generic approach by addressing gender equality in granting heartbreak leaves.

Regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, any employee facing the aftermath of a breakup can seek this leave. This progressive step aligns with fostering inclusivity and recognizing that emotional challenges do not discriminate.

One key feature of the bill is its acknowledgment of the potential benefits for both employees and employers. By allowing time for emotional processing, the proposed heartbreak leave aims to improve focus and performance upon the employee’s return.

The bill’s explanatory note highlights a win-win scenario, fostering engagement, reducing costs, and contributing to a more humane and productive work environment.

Moreover, the Heartbreak Recovery and Resilience Act doesn’t just stop at providing leaves; it directs the Department of Labor and Employment and the Civil Service Commission to develop and disseminate evidence-based resources on navigating heartbreak and emotional well-being.

This proactive approach aims to offer comprehensive support to government offices, employers, and employees.

As we move towards a more empathetic and understanding workplace culture, the Heartbreak Recovery and Resilience Act stands out as a progressive step in recognizing the intersection of personal and professional lives.

By addressing emotional distress and providing support, this bill aims to contribute to a healthier and more resilient workforce.


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