04 July 2007

Shahrizat still pushing for 84

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil is still pushing for maternity leave for civil servants to be increased from 60 days to 84.

She said the ministry had gathered feedback from employers on all issues they were unsure about pertaining to the proposal.

There is concern in the private sector that it too would come under pressure to extend the same medical benefit to workers if the Government decides to increase the duration of the present maternity leave for civil servants.

Digital age: NAM Institute for the Empowerment of Women workers (from left) Noor Farahstin Hassan, Noor Azneem Amarullah and Nurhizam Ab Halim checking out POPnet at the conference venue yesterday. — Bernama
“We are getting data so as to assuage their fears.

“We will never go to Cabinet to ask for something that will put women in a position where they will be eased out of employment,” Shahrizat told reporters after opening a national population conference and launching the population and development database system (POPnet) here yesterday.

She said, initially, employers were not too happy with the proposal but after discussing the matter with her, many began to realise that a family-friendly workplace would increase productivity and benefit them in the long run.

“When we pointed out the long-term investment in a family-friendly workplace, they began to see what we meant.

“Studies have shown that it will increase productivity,” she said, adding that she would present a paper on the proposal to the Cabinet.

Earlier in her speech, Shahrizat said that of the country's 26.6 million population, about 32% are under 15 years of age, 61% are in the working age category (15 to 59 years old) and up to 7% are 60 and above.

She said the ministry was looking into the possibility of how to provide assistance to senior citizens to venture into small-scale businesses.

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