Deputy Minister of Human Resources Datuk Seri Ismail Abd Muttalib informed that private sector employers can be prosecuted if they fire female employees for taking 90 days maternity leave
"Although there is no specific clause stating that private sector employers cannot terminate the service of a female worker for taking 90 days maternity leave, we have to uphold the principle of law which is the Federal Constitution.
"Employers cannot terminate the service of female workers when they become pregnant, these women have contributed so much to help their companies thrive," said Ismail, as reported by Bernama yesterday, 13 December.
If an employer terminates the service of a female employee for taking 90 days maternity leave, Ismail stressed that the matter should be reported to the Human Resources Ministry and they will take the necessary actions against the said employer
He said that this is in line with the provisions of the Federal Constitution in which everyone has equal rights, including employment.
When tabling Budget 2018 on 27 October, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that the mandatory maternity leave for women in the private sector has been increased from 60 to 90 days.
Ismail explained that the proposal will go through two phases, with the first phase involving consultation with the stakeholders to get their views and feedback on the change
The second phase would see amendments to Section 37 of the Employment Act 1995, Section 83 of the Sabah Labour Ordinance Chapter 67, and Section 84 of the Sarawak Labour Ordinance Chapter 76.
The prime minister also proposed a one-year tax exemption for women returning to the workforce after a hiatus of more than two years, stressing that women are the backbone of family prosperity and national development.
Echoing Najib's thoughts, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rohani Abdul Karim said that the maternity leave would not only prolong women's career, but also increase their productivity level
Read more about all the important rights you are entitled to as an employee in Peninsular Malaysia and Labuan: