KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 11 – The government proposed today amending the Employment Act 1955 to increase maternity leave in the private sector from 60 to 90 days in 2021.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced during the tabling of Budget 2020 that the Employment Act would also be amended to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender, religion, and ethnicity, and to improve procedures for handling sexual harassment complaints.
Eligibility for overtime would be expanded from those earning less than RM2,000 monthly to those earning less than RM4,000 a month, according to proposed amendments to the Employment Act.
“In addition to creating new employment opportunities, the government will also continuously pursue efforts to modernise our labour market and enhance the employment conditions of workers,” said Lim.
The government will allocate an additional RM30 million next year to provide more TASKA, or early childhood care facilities, especially in hospitals and schools.
“In addition, to ease the financial burden of parents who enrol their children in registered nurseries and kindergartens, individual tax relief for fees paid will be increased from RM1,000 to RM2,000,” said Lim.
The government also allocated RM80 million towards upgrading, repair and maintenance of 67 various institutions under the Department of Social Welfare (JKM), including child care, disabled and elderly centres.
The government will provide RM575 million socio-economic assistance to senior citizens, benefiting 137,000 seniors whose household income is below the poverty level.
“We have also allocated RM4.6 million to the Senior Citizens Activity Centre (PAWE) to cover the expenditure of 129 centres across Malaysia benefiting 37,000 senior citizens,” Lim said.
Proposed amendments to the Employment Act to prohibit discrimination against job seekers were previously said to have been withdrawn from review by the Human Resources Ministry, though the ministry later denied this.
The proposed amendment, if passed, would have given individuals, both job seekers and employees, protection from discrimination by employers or potential employers on the basis of gender, religion, race, disability, language, marital status and pregnancy.
“Pregnancy and maternity discrimination are real problems encountered by pregnant women and young mothers. Many employers still feel that a woman should disclose whether she is pregnant during the recruitment process,” Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy CEO Azrul Mohd Khalib said previously.