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20 Februari 2010

FIGHT FOR LONGER MATERNITY LEAVE CONTINUES

Malay Mail
Reena Raj
Friday, February 19th, 2010 10:58:00





KUALA LUMPUR: Unions will continue their fight to increase maternity leave to be in line with other countries in the region.The call for longer maternity leave has been going on for the last 10 years.
Yesterday, the National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) called on the government to amend the Employment Act 1955 to increase private sector maternity leave from 60 to 90 days.
NUBE hopes that Malaysia will emulate its Asean partners by providing better facilities for its 5.1 million women workforce who have to juggle demanding full-time jobs with homemaking which includes taking responsibility for the family's health, growth and development.
The call was also supported by Cuepacs and the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC). Cuepac president Omar Othman said he hoped Malaysia would standardise the benefits.
"We have brought this up before but there has been no decision. We fully support it and will bring it up in our upcoming congress."
MTUC's chairman of the women's commitee, Noorlaila Aslah, said they have been pursuing the matter since 2000 and last year, a few NGOs together with MTUC, handed a memorandum on the issue to the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry.
They are still waiting for a reply.
"We will continue fighting for our women employees. We are happy that there are many others who are with us in this."
She said this would enable mothers to spend more quality time with their children.
Yesterday, NUBE said most Asean countries have already adopted the revised International Labour Organisation's Convention 183 on Maternity Protection that not only provides longer leave but also had provisions for breastfeeding and childcare protection.
Its general-secretary, J. Solomon, said Singapore grants 112 days of maternity leave while Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines give 90 days. He said in Cambodia, it was mandatory for companies with more than 100 women workers to have a breastfeeding room and childcare centre.
Similar facilities were also provided for mothers in Indonesia. Solomon said NUBE would soon submit a memorandum on this issue to the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry

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