Amendments to Malaysia’s Employment Act “falls short”

Although maternity leave has been extended from 60 to 90 days, this is less than the International Labour Organisation’s standard of 98 days.
By: | November 16, 2021

Acknowledging the amendments made to Malaysia’s Employment Act 1955, the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) said that “while some positive reforms have been included, the bill falls short… in many areas”. 

Although the maternity leave has been extended from 60 to 90 days, it still falls short of the International Labour Organisation’s standard of 98 days. 

A new proposed section also permits any woman to return to work during the maternity leave period, but “there may be room for abuse – if employers coerce women to return to work early”, it said in a statement. 

On the subject of paternity leave, it further added that “three days is not enough. We urge the government to introduce at least seven days of paid paternity leave – the same as what public-sector workers currently enjoy”.

WAO also highlighted that the bill empowers the labour department to investigate employer-employee disputes on discrimination, but the definition of discrimination is unclear. 

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“Discrimination must be defined to include direct and indirect discrimination, and grounds for discrimination (including gender, religion, race, or disabilities) should be spelt out.”