Pregnant employees cannot be subject to firing in Malaysia

Employers who fire female employees for being on maternity or sick leave during pregnancy will be subject to prosecution, said the Deputy HR Minister.
By: | November 24, 2023

Employees on maternity or sick leave during pregnancy cannot be fired, the Dewan Rakyat (lower house of the bicameral Parliament, the federal legislature of Malaysia) was told this week.

This is something stated in the Employment Act 1955, said Datuk Mustapha Sakmud, Deputy Human Resources Minister. Employers who do not comply with the regulations could be subject to action.

“According to Section 41A(1) of the Employment Act 1955, employers are prohibited from serving notice of termination to female employees who are pregnant or sick during pregnancy unless there are grounds for misconduct or the closure of business operations,” he said, in reply to a supplementary question from Member of Parliament Dr Abd Ghani Ahmad regarding the action against employers who terminate employees on maternity leave.

“Employers can be prosecuted and issued with a compound if they fail to comply with the regulations.”

Mustapha revealed that 44 complaints of employers denying pregnant employees their full 98-day maternity leave entitlement have been received as of October 31 this year. Of the reports received, 28 were well-founded complaints, while 16 were considered baseless.

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“For the well-founded complaints, the employers involved have been given a warning and corrective action has been taken,” said Mustapha, in response to a query from Member of Parliament M Kulasegaran regarding measures to ensure that all employers comply with the 98-day maternity leave policy that came into force in January this year.

“All cases were resolved with the employers granting the 98-day maternity leave entitlement to employees involved,” he concluded, reported The Edge.