Maternity Leave

4 April 2017

The issue of maternity leave is a debatable topic among governments, employers and employees with differing interests. Varying across countries, Malaysia practices a minimum of 60 days according to the Employment Act 1955 (Lawnet. com. my 2010) . In theSun Newspaper, Chandranagayam (2010) discussed how Malaysian practitioners responded poorly towards National Union of Bank Employee’s (NUBE) call to increase maternity leave from 60 to 90 days, citing business operations’ interruptions, unhealthy business environment and 60 days being sufficient.

The writer asserts that companies should focus on developing innovative solutions to provide for this benefit as most developed countries do. Presently, only the Selangor state enforces 90-day maternity live for its civil servants (The Star Online 2010) . The International Labour Organization’s (ILO) minimum standard is set at 14 weeks in promoting working women’s right (The Star Online 2010) . Vast majority of its 183 members provide 12 weeks or more maternity leave with more than 70 providing more than 14 weeks.

Maternity Leave Essay Example

The need becomes greater as Malaysian women are expected not only to be productive employees and leaders, but take on the motherhood role. A study from the Corporate Leadership Council (2009) finds effective work-life benefits result in star employees working harder and increased organization loyalty. This provides insights on how organizations can attract and retain skilled labour. Malaysia has yet to conform to ILO’s minimum recognized standard. 1. 2Issue 2: Migrant Workers 233

In March 2010’s issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, Zappei (2010) discussed on Malaysia’s migrant workers. Amnesty, an organization campaigning for international human rights urged for Malaysia to protect its migrant workers’ rights as they found exploitation of these low skilled workers a common occurrence. Among the mistreatment faced are arbitrary arrests, low wages, threats and unsafe working environments. This is a concern as more than one fifth of Malaysia’s workforce positions are filled by foreign labourers in positions shunned by locals in industries involving onstruction, households, factories and plantations. It is estimated about 1 million foreigners working illegally and 2 million working legally in Malaysia with most of them coming from poorer parts of countries including Philippines, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar. The situation impacts Malaysia’s diplomatic ties with other countries. Zamir (2009) found migrant workers dependent towards the economy where the global recession resulted in Malaysia cancelling more than 50000 visas in the first quarter of 2009.

Many Bangladeshi workers were retrenched and forced to return to their home country, negatively impacting Bangladesh’s economic position and balance of payment being heavily reliant on providing migrant labour. Conversely, diplomatic relations among Malaysia and Indonesia over 52 years deteriorated over differing misconceptions over issues of criminal migrant workers and maid abuse. This is detrimental as both countries are heavily reliant on providing for each other’s economy (Newsbank 2009) .

Over 30 years, the act resulted in about 70 percent Norwegian women today compared to less than half previously. With 40. 1 percent female board members in public listed companies, the Norwegian economy benefits from innovative contribution and high-level decision making from women. Malaysia observed a rise from 18. 8 to 30. 5 percent in top management positions in the public sector since 2004, but figures in the private sector remains low. Norway offers over a year’s parental leave hence an enabling environment is crucial for Malaysian women to contribute to the economy.

Stone (2008) suggests three approaches to managing employment diversity – Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), diversity management and affirmative action. EEO aims to eliminate unfairness in unrelated job factors and promote equitable employment opportunities for all applicants. These are often employers’ responses toward governmental legislations. Without sex discrimination in the workplace, HR practitioners need also look into ways to maximize the potential of the female employees. 2. 2 Issue 2: Migrant Workers

The wellbeing of migrant workers in Malaysia deserves consideration as they significantly contribute towards firms’ productivity and the nation’s overall economy. The recurring issue on employee welfare has exacerbated, potentially damaging political ties and subjects Malaysia to public criticism. The government plays an important role in preventing exploitation of labour in the country through law and policy making. Being the biggest migrant employer in South East Asia, Malaysia, migrant workers are viewed to contribute towards developing a country’s economy but could also create social issues.

Cultural differences could cause conflicts, reflected in the people’s perception and media (Amarjit 2005) . So far, the policy on Recruitment of Foreign Workers since 1991 outlines rules and guidelines on how migrant workers are to be treated. The policy requires migrant workers to have a written contract paid by the employer, wages, benefits and employment terms to be similar to local workers based on relevant national labour legislation and provide a conducive environment (clean housing and food) for the migrant workers.

Although so, Malaysia is still lacking in a comprehensive legal and policy framework to regulate and manage migrant workers and different aspects of migrant workers are divided and overseen by different ministries and departments (Fair Labour Association 2008) . The lack of efficient management of human resources and processes could have led to employers disregarding the governmental policies for migrant workers enforced. 3. 0 IMPROVEMENT PLAN 700/233 3. 1 Issue 1: Maternity Leave Malaysia will soon need to step up and comply with ILO’s maternity leave standards.

The compliance will improve workplace benefits for women, in particular. Employers need to recognize the unique contribution of women in the workplace including diversity, creativity and part of the labour supply. Employers need to shift from the assumption that additional leave creates losses in man hours and consider the long term advantages reaped – retention of key employees. In facilitating this benefit for working women, the government should first increase the maternity leave standards for both public and private sectors to conform to ILO’s standards.

This ensures an increased commitment from employers to comply with the new policy. Working women, on the other hand, will not consider motherhood to be of a disadvantage to their career development. In committing to women advancement in the workplace, employers should look into creative and innovative workaround solutions. Employers should set up clear implementation guidelines and controls to cater for pregnant staff. Childbearing is not a sudden phenomenon; these female employees can plan and prepare their workmates throughout their pregnancy process in handing over their tasks.

This permits a smooth handover during the transition period when she is on maternity leave. With flexible work arrangements and appropriate workload, returning employees will be able to resume their work positions with minimal disruptions to business activities. 3. 2 Issue 2: Migrant Workers The government plays a role in stepping up to prosecute those who illtreat its workers. Much improvement can be done to set up a legal framework in managing migrant workers’ HR activities.

Workplace inspections should be conducted periodically. Migrant workers should also have communication access to relevant parties for issues. The Malaysian embassy and public affairs section should also work in response to refute on false accusations on Malaysian employers and foster better relationships with other countries. This helps Malaysia to obtain the supply of migrant workers needed for the economy. Improved legislation need to be enforced to guarantee and safeguard interests of both the employers and migrant workers.

There is a need for companies to look into managing industrial relations on migrant workers’ rights, employment conditions and wages. Being a HRM function, companies need to manage the complex relationships between workers, employers and legislative bodies. With varying practices across organizations, HR managers need to observe the legal requirements in managing the migrant workers through anti-discriminating measures (Stone 2008). Companies need to work towards complying with the Policy on Recruitment of Foreign Workers.

Appropriate resource planning helps companies to project the labour needed thus mimimizing the need for retrenchment of migrant workers for other options including outsourcing and hiring part time workers.

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