By SARBAN SINGH
SEREMBAN: Mothers-to-be in the civil service can now begin their 60-day maternity leave two weeks prior to their due date. It takes effect on May 1.
They will only be required to submit a letter from their doctor stating their due date to obtain permission to go on leave earlier.
At present, they are only allowed to start their maternity leave from the day they give birth.
Public Service Department director-general Tan Sri Ismail Adam said the new rule was among measures taken by the Government to improve the benefits for civil servants.
“The mother will be allowed to start her leave earlier but she must report to work once the 60 days are up,” he said in a circular.
Half of the country’s 1.1 million civil servants are women.
The Government had increased maternity leave from 42 to 60 days in April 1998.
They are also allowed up to 90 days’ unpaid leave after confinement to look after their babies. The benefits apply only up to the fifth child.
However, Cuepacs has been pressuring the Government to increase the leave to 84 days.
Its president, Omar Osman, had said that the extra days would be crucial for women, particularly those who undergo Caesarean births.
“Sixty days are insufficient for a mother, particularly if she has to undergo surgery, to recover and look after her baby. We hope the Government will consider this,” he said.
He said that alternatively, the Government should offer them half-month salary for six months after their two-month maternity leave was up.
Last September, the Government announced a new provision allowing mothers to apply for up to five years’ unpaid leave to look after their newborns.
To date, only the Selangor government has increased the maternity leave for its female employees from 60 to 90 days. Paternity leave has also been doubled from seven days to 14 days.