Give staff choice to get paid for cutting maternity leave short, suggest SME firms

The Small and Medium Enterprises Association Malaysia (Samenta) said today it supports Putrajaya’s move to increase paid maternity leave to 90 days by 2021. However, it also proposed several steps to make the arrangement flexible, including giving the chance for employees to shorten their maternity leave to 60 days in lieu of payment. “This gives parents the option that would make most sense to them, based on their specific conditions and situations,” Samenta’s Policy and Government Relations Chairman Datuk William Ng said in a statement.


The group also suggested for small and medium enterprise (SME) employers in certain sectors such as plantations and manufacturing to be given flexibility to implement the incremental leaves in stages. “Manpower and resource planning could take up to a full year to roll out, and many SMEs are also subject to the workflow and procedures determined by principals and pricing that are often locked in for multi-years based on costs at time of negotiation,” Ng said.


Samenta also urged Putrajaya to provide tax incentives in Budget 2021 for workplaces to install nursing facilities, to make it easier for new mothers to return to work. Among the incentives announced by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng when tabling Budget 2020 was a review of the Employment Act 1955 to increase maternity leave from 60 days to 90 days effective 2021.


The Human Resources Ministry has since said it will take action against private sector employers who refuse to grant the 90-day maternity leave to female workers beginning 2021.


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