KUALA LUMPUR: Maternity leave has been extended from 90 to 98 days.
This was included in amendments to the Employment Act 1955, which were passed in the Dewan Rakyat today with a voice vote.
The extension is in line with recommendations made by the International Labour Organization (ILO). Its Convention 183, passed in 2000, requires governments to guarantee 98 days (14 weeks) of paid maternity leave.
The proposal to increase the maternity leave was first mooted by the human resources ministry under the Pakatan Harapan government in 2019, when it suggested 75 days instead of the 60 days then.
Various civil rights groups had been calling for maternity leave to be increased to 98 days since 2019.
Besides maternity leave, the Dewan Rakyat also passed amendments to the Act to grant seven days’ paid paternity leave.
The new paternity leave period was announced by the human resources ministry on March 15.
The government had earlier proposed for only three days’ paid paternity leave, but civil society groups said it was insufficient.
Tabling the amendments in the Dewan Rakyat earlier today, deputy human resources minister Awang Hashim rejected a proposal by Pasir Mas MP Ahmad Fadhli Shaari for non-consecutive paternity leave, saying it was not the right time for such a policy.
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