26 September 2007

Women civil servants on leave to take care of babies told no side jobs

The Star

SEREMBAN: Disciplinary action, including the risk of getting sacked, will be taken against female civil servants who undertake other jobs while on leave to look after their babies.

Public Services director-general Tan Sri Ismail Adam said civil servants were still subjected to provisions in the General Orders pertaining to their employment although they were on long leave.

"The leave is strictly for the mother to look after her child. You cannot be doing another job elsewhere as you are still a government employee and bound by all the relevant rules and regulations," he said in a circular.

On Sept 4, the Government announced that female civil servants will be allowed to take leave of up to 1,825 days or five years after exhausting their 60-day maternity leave to enable them to look after their newborns.

The leave could be broken up and taken several times but the total must not exceed five years.

Clarifying the announcement, Ismail said the leave would not be granted automatically to all applicants.

"This will be at the discretion of the ministry secretary-general for those working in a ministry or the head of department for those working in the states," he said.

He said department heads must ensure that the public delivery services at the respective departments was not interrupted if the female employee were to go on leave.

"Since some services are critical, we cannot grant leave to all applicants.

"Department heads must also ensure there was someone to fill up the vacancy before granting their request for leave," he said

Ismail said even if the female employee had been granted leave, she should be prepared to be called back to work if the need arises.

"If there is a pressing need for her to come back, she will have to abide by the directive," he said.

The duration of the leave, he said, would not be taken into account when calculating their retirement or other benefits such as gratuity payment.

"The employee will also lose his seniority for as long as she is on leave," he said.

Ismail said the female employee can be considered for promotions while on leave if she had fulfilled the required criteria.

Female employees on probation can also apply for the leave but would have to complete their probation once they report back to work.

However, they would be allowed to attend induction courses or examinations during the period.

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