Kota Kinabalu: Expectant women working in the country's public sector can expect longer maternity leave of up to 90 days by next year.
Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Servants (Cuepacs) President, Omar Osman, said they are working with Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil to bring this to fruition soon.
"Cuepacs has included this proposal of extending maternity leave from 60 days to 90 days plus paid leave in our memorandum to the Government in 2007.
"We were working together with Shahrizat at that time but later we found out that implementation was postponed as it was seen to be not suitable to be enforced yet.
"But when we raised the proposal in a meeting with the Government last year, pregnant women working in the public sector were allowed to take 14 days' advance leave ahead of giving birth," he said.
However, Osman said Cuepacs did not agree with such advance leave of 14 days as it would be deducted from their 60-day maternity leave and they would be left with 44 days to recuperate.
He said this to reporters after delivering a talk on the welfare of civil servants at the Luyang Health Clinic here, Tuesday.
The talk was part of activities being held in conjunction with Occupational Safety and Health Week from July 5 to 9, organised by the Sabah Medical Services Union (SMSU), to enhance awareness among medical government staff on their rights to safety and welfare.
Also present were Penampang Health Officer Dr Mohammad Saffree bin Jeffree and SMSU President Maiman Muntial.
Osman said Cuepacs is thus still pushing for 90-day maternity leave plus paid leave from the Government.
Towards this end, he said Cuepacs totally supports Sharizat's effort to address the implementation of the proposal before the end of this year.
As for paternity leave, Osman said Cuepacs received feedback that husbands are asking for extended leave to care for their wives, from seven days to 10 days.
However, he said, Cuepacs needs to give focus to realising the proposed 90-day maternity leave before attending to the husbands' demand for more leave as well.
On another proposal, Osman said the Public Service Department (JPA) is currently studying Cuepacs' proposal for a review of the interest on home financing.
"We are asking the Government to consider reviewing the interest from the present four per cent to one per cent because of the high cost of purchasing homes these days and to lessen the financial burden of the civil servants.
We submitted the proposal to JPA on April 5 this year and the department is studying it."
As for the Cost of Living Allowance (Cola), he said the union has asked for this to be streamlined but that they are applying for the regional allowance for Sabah and Sarawak to be raised from five per cent to between 10 and 12 per cent.
He said Cuepacs also wants civil servants in Sabah and Sarawak to be given the opportunity to travel for free to the peninsula either once every two years or once every three years.
"We have also submitted a proposal to the Government through JPA to consider providing incentives to civil servants working on shifts.
"We are applying for a special incentive like cash to be awarded to these government servants as a motivation which could raise their income and prevent them from accepting bribes or being lazy to go to work," Osman said.