Nowadays, women play a very important role in family and national development and they account half of the world populations. The number of women active in the workforce is increasing rapidly. Women choose to out for work or have to return to work (either full or part time) after their babies are born. Due to the high cost of living, it requires both partners to work and this reflects changing in demographic patterns. The nuclear family with a wife at home is a reality for only a small proportion of the population and, for better or worse, a diminishing one. The role of women in society is radically changing in Malaysia. Therefore, the Government should recognize the role of women in the nation’s development. Economic pressures, the women’s movement, and the psychological demands to develop one’s identity are encouraging women to take a more active role outside the home, to pursue full-time careers or education and to participate more widely in society generally. At this moment, employers find that they employ large numbers of women and are dependent on their skills, thus liberal maternity leave provisions can help with long-term recruitment and retention. It enables employers to attract qualified women and be a very useful and cost-effective policy in areas of professional skill shortage. As spoken by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak in his speech for 2011 Budget, The Government is concerned with the career prospects and welfare of female civil servants as they need to take care of their families, particularly newborn babies. To improve the maternity leave facility for female civil servants, the Government will allow flexibility to self-determine fully-paid maternity leave, not exceeding 90 days from the current 60 days. This facility is subject to a total of 300 days of maternity leave throughout the tenure of service. Initiative to increase the existing paid maternity leave from 60 days to 90 days has become an issue in Malaysia and has received momentous attention lately by workers’ and employers’ representatives as well as the Government. 2.0 DEFINITION OF MATERNITY LEAVE
The definition of Maternity is the act of becoming a mother and leave is to go out of or away from or can be describe as permission to be away from work. Maternity leave can be defined as a leave of absence from a job for a mother to care of a baby. While, HR dictionary define maternity leave as a period when a woman is away from work to have a baby but is often still paid.
3.0 SCENARIO IN MALAYSIA
Every single country in developed world has its own regulation for maternity leave as well as Malaysia. When it comes to maternity leave, Malaysia is one of the few countries which are still at the bottom rung and it keep on continuing with no end in sight. In Malaysia, maternity leave is covered under Employment Act 1955. Although, most of the ASEAN countries such as Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Philippines provide 90 days paid maternity leaves, Malaysia is not in line with those countries because the current maternity leaves provided is 60 days. Besides that, it also do not match with the standard of International Labour Organisation (ILO) Covention 183 on Maternity Protection. Meanwhile, in Malaysia the 90 days maternity leaves implemented by our Government had been applied to women employees who work as a civil servant. It had been done by several states. For instance, women civil servants in Selangor and Kelantan will get 90 days maternity leave, compared with the present 60 days. So, women who work as a civil servant are very lucky compared to those women employees who work in the private sector. In fact, National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) had compiled the supporting signatures of “90 Days for Mums” Online Petition and submit it together with a Memorandum to the Honourable Prime Minister of Malaysia and a copy to the 221 Members of Parliament as the voice of 1Malaysian citizen urging...