03 September 2007

Women in civil service can take 5yrs off to raise kids

The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Women civil servants can now take a total of up to five years unpaid leave to look after their children.

Apart from the 90 days' maternity leave, they can opt to take an accumulation of five years unpaid leave from work to take care of their children. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who announced this after opening the 12th Civil Service Conference here on Monday, said Cabinet had approved this last week.

"The current (maternity) leave is for 90 days, but some may decide their priority in life is to take care of the children -- this would allow them to do so," he said.

At present, female civil servants can take maternity leave of 60 days with full pay a maximum of five times during their service.

After the 60 days, they can opt for 90 days' unpaid leave to look after the child. The unpaid leave must start on the 61st day, and any portion of the 90 days not used is automatically forfeited.

This unpaid leave can be taken five times during their service.

"The leave can be staggered, which means they can take one or two years for the first child, and another one or two years for the subsequent child (any way) not exceeding five years," he said after opening the conference.

The conference, themed "Enhancing National Competitiveness Through Effective Implementation," was organised by the Malaysian Administrative and Diplomatic Service Association and National Institute of Public Administration (Intan).

Najob said that those who opted for the five years leave would get three notional increments, and so only lose out on two increments.

"The three notional increments will be given within the five years as an increment to the salary they were getting before they took the long leave.

"For example, if the notional increment is RM50 for a certain post, at the end of the five years they would have receive RM150 on top of their salary, once they return to work," he said.

Najib said the five-year cap was imposed because longer absence from work would affect the civil servants' competency and manpower planning.

"We want to provide this flexibility for women in the civil service who want to give more attention to the care of their children.

"This is in line with the Government’s emphasis on the early education of children," he added.

Najib said he had proposed this three weeks ago while launching a women's seminar, and congratulated the Public Services Department for quickly preparing a Cabinet paper on the matter.

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