After a number of complaints of employers denying pregnant employees their full 98-day maternity leave entitlement, the Malaysian Human Resources Ministry has decided to step in.

Employers are not allowed to terminate their employees who are on maternity or sick leave during pregnancy, the Dewan Rakyat was told at the latest Parliament meeting.

Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Mustapha Sakmud said the matter was stated in the Employment Act 1955 and any employer who did not comply with the regulations could be subject to action.

He commented, “According to Section 41A(1) of the Employment Act 1955, employers are prohibited from serving notice of termination to female employees who are pregnant or sick during pregnancy unless there are grounds for misconduct or the closure of business operations.”

“Employers can be prosecuted and issued with a compound if they fail to comply with the regulations,” he said in reply to a supplementary question from Dr Abd Ghani Ahmad (PN-Jerlun) regarding the action against employers who terminate employees on maternity leave.

Meanwhile, Mustapha revealed that 44 complaints of employers denying pregnant employees their full 98-day maternity leave entitlement have been received as of Oct 31.

He said of the total reports received, 28 were well-founded complaints, while 16 were considered baseless.

“For the well-founded complaints, the employers involved have been given a warning and corrective action has been taken.

“All cases were resolved with the employers granting the 98-day maternity leave entitlement to employees involved,” he said in response to the original question from M Kulasegaran (PH-Ipoh Barat) about measures taken by the government to ensure that all employers comply with the 98-day maternity leave policy that came into force on Jan 1, 2023.


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