The government should put in place appropriate mechanisms to support employers bear the additional cost increases should maternity leave be extended from the current 60 days to 90 days, as was proposedby the YAB Prime Minister in tabling the Budget 2018 in Parliament recently.
The proposal to extend the maternity leave came as a surprise to employers as there was no priordiscussion whatsoever prior to the said announcement. This contradicts the government’s policy to adopt good regulatory practices before new laws or policies are introduced, as the employers are relevant stakeholders who are made to bear the additional financial burden as a result of extended maternity leave.
Currently, employers in Malaysia pay full wages for the 60 days maternity leave for up to five surviving children, where the cost of maternity leave is about RM1.495 billion per year.
Should maternity leave be increased to 90 days, the additional costs to employers is estimated to increase by about RM747 million per year. Employers need to also pay for the cost of replacement that would also amount to about RM747 million, thus amounting to a total of about RM1.5 billion per year.
In comparison with other countries such as Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Korea, Australia,France, Sweden, and Norway the wages during maternity leave is paid wholly or partly by the government or social security or insurance. In the United States, the maternity leave period are unpaid. Refer to Appendix A.
“Compared to other countries, employers in Malaysia are already very generous as they pay the wages in full for the 60 days maternity leave,” said MEF Executive Director Y.Bhg. Datuk Hj. Shamsuddin Bardan in Petaling Jaya today.
“Whilst MEF supports women in employment, to require employers to bear the additional costs of 30 day maternity leave would be grossly unfair in view of the very challenging economic environment and implementation of other new policies, such as the Employment Insurance Scheme (EIS), expansion of SOCSO coverage and minimum wages.”
“The government should share the costs with the employers. Employers are already stretched in that the number of working days for an employee in Malaysia is already quite low and one day’s wages in the private sector is estimated at RM600 million. An average of 250,000 women employees go on maternity leave each year.”
For further information, contact MEF Headquarters at 03‐7955‐7778, or fax 03‐7955‐9008 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
31 OCTOBER 2017