PUTRAJAYA: The thought that women will abuse their maternity leave by spending it on holiday is a just a myth, said Women, Family and Community Development Deputy Minister Hannah Yeoh.
She said the maternity leave for mothers was to ensure both babies and mothers would spend bonding time together and that the babies would get exclusive breastfeeding.
“Maternity leave is not for holiday or fun, it is really for exclusive breastfeeding. Doctors always encouraged mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies for six months.
“The myth is that if given maternity leave, the woman will abuse it, they will keep having children. That’s the myth outside,” she told the media on the side-line of the National Convention of Women and Family 2019 here today.
Among the incentives announced by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng when tabling Budget 2020 was a review of the Employment Act 1955 to increase maternity leave from 60 days to 90 days effective 2021.
Yeoh said when hiring woman as employee, employers should provide support infrastructure such as childcare and maternity leave as well.
“What women bring to the workforce, to this nation’s economy, cannot be valued in how much you’re going to lose in those months because the woman is at home having maternity leave.
“This 90-day leave is really very basic that women are asking for and when babies are with their mothers for the first three months, there will be less incidence of babies choking on milk,” she said.
Meanwhile, Yeoh said the ministry had agreed to implement periodical multi-stakeholders meeting at the federal, state and district levels in a bid to address issues of abuse and violence against women.
She said the committee would comprise police personnel, state executive councillor for women and elected representatives in the district.
“Sometimes, we hear so many cases, but they were not reported. With this multi-stakeholders meeting, we will gather all the details in a more systematic manner,” she said. – Bernama