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The Human Resources Ministry will take action against private sector employers who deny their employees the right to take 90-day maternity leave – a new benefit which was announced in the 2020 Budget, on Friday. - NSTP/DANIAL SAAD

IPOH: The Human Resources Ministry will take action against private sector employers who deny their employees the right to take 90-day maternity leave – a new benefit which was announced in the 2020 Budget, on Friday.

Its minister, M. Kulasegaran, said that private sector employers must comply with the government’s move to raise the maternity leave period to 90 days.

“We are following the international standard. You must follow the international standard. If you don’t follow it, you must have a problem.

“If the public sector can do it, why can’t the private sector do it?

“We will take action if (you) refuse to follow the rule, even though the rule is only applicable from 2021,” Kulasegaran said after opening the JobsMalaysia Care Carnival 2019 at the Movie Animation Park Studios in Meru, here, today.

The minister was commenting on concerns raised by Malaysian designer Christy Ng, who feared that expectant mothers may face negative job repercussions with the increase in the maternity leave period.

Ng is quoted as saying that being away from the workforce for a three-month period might not be a good thing, and may deter employers from placing women in high-ranking positions.

Her views have since drawn flak on social media platforms, including from Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister, Hannah Yeoh.

In a tweet, Yeoh pointed out that Malaysia’s fertility rate plunged from 6.7 per cent in 1957 to an expected 1.91 per cent in 2020.

She stressed that the main purpose of an extended maternity leave is to create bonding between mother and baby.

“90 days is most basic and minimal… not asking for the sky,” Yeoh added.

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