Malaysia urged to cover workers’ wages for maternity leave
Once amendments to Malaysia’s Employment Act take effect on September 1, private sector workers will be able to take maternity leave of 90 days, an increase from the previous 60-day duration.
The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) noted that employers would have no choice but to implement the changes laid out in the provisions of the act, and that this would incur higher costs on behalf of the employer.
“Employers will also have to bear the costs of workers taking emergency leave, unpaid leave or skipping work without reasonable cause, which will result in a drop in productivity and financial losses,” MEF president Syed Hussain Syed Husman told MalaysiaNow.
The cost of the 90-day maternity leave would be fully borne by the employer, unlike other ASEAN countries, he said. In Thailand, for maternity leave exceeding 45 days, up to 50% of the cost is borne by the social security organisation for a maximum of two births.
“The same goes in Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia where social security groups take on part of the cost of maternity leave,” he said.
It would help if the government would consider funding part of the cost for maternity and paternity leave through the social security system or the Employment Insurance System, he added.