Working Mothers in Malaysia

Does the Law have provisions on maternity leave? Yes
What is the duration of maternity leave? 8.5 weeks
Who pays for maternity leave? Employer
Does the law require that workers be protected from dismissals during the term of pregnancy and maternity leave? Yes
Does the law provide for the right to return to same position after availing maternity leave? Yes
Does the law require that pregnant and nursing workers must not be engaged in harmful work? Yes
Does the law require that pregnant workers be provided free ante and post natal medical care? No
Does the law provide for breastfeeding breaks for nursing mothers? No
Does the law require parental leave for parents? No
Does the law require that parents with minor children or workers with other family responsibilities be provided with flexible time or part time work options? No

To comply with international standards, maternity leave duration should be at least 14 weeks and during maternity leave workers should be paid at least 67% of their wage.

More about maternity leave:

Maternity leave is provided under the Employment Act 1955 for a period of at least 60 consecutive days. The maternity leave may not commence earlier than 30 days prior to the expected date of confinement or later than the day immediately following confinement.

If a medical officer or a registered medical practitioner (appointed by the employer) certifies that the pregnant worker, as a result of advanced stage of pregnancy, is unable to perform duties satisfactorily, she may be required to commence her maternity leave at any time during a period of 14 days preceding to the date of confinement. If a pregnant worker abstains from work to commence her maternity leave on a date earlier than 30 days prior to confinement, it is not treated as maternity leave and she is not entitled to any maternity allowance for those days.  

A worker who is entitled to maternity leave but not to maternity allowance may, with employer’s consent, commence work at any time during the eligible period (of 60 days) if she is certified fit to resume work by a registered medical practitioner. 

Any condition in a contract of service whereby an employee relinquishes or is deemed to relinquish any right (with regard to maternity leave or maternity allowance) is void.

Source: Sections 37 & 43 of the Employment Act 1955 (Act 265)

Employment Act 1995 has provision on maternity allowance for a period of at least 60 consecutive days. While every female pregnant worker is entitled to maternity leave, maternity allowance has separate conditions as follows:

  1. The worker must have less than five surviving natural children, irrespective of their age;
  2. The worker must have been employed by the employer for a period of, or as an aggregate, at least 90 days during the 9 months immediately before confinement and must have been employed by the employer at any time in 4 months immediately before her confinement.

Other than these, there are also “information” conditions:

  1. A female employee must, within a period of sixty days immediately preceding her expected confinement, notify her employer of it and the date from which she intends to commence her maternity leave.  If she commences such leave without so notifying her employer, the payment of maternity allowance to her may be suspended until such notice is given to her employer;
  2. A female employee who is about to leave her employment and who knows or has reason to believe that she will be confined within four months from the date she leaves employment must, before leaving her employment, notify her employer of her pregnancy. If she fails so to do, she shall not be entitled to receive any maternity allowance from such employer.

The failure to give any such notice within the period specified does not prejudice the right of a female employee to receive any maternity allowance it it is found that the failure was caused by mistake or other reasonable cause.

The maternity allowance is based on the monthly wages if a worker is employed on monthly rate of pay. Otherwise, a worker is entitled to receive her ordinary rate of pay for each day of the eligible period of maternity allowance or at the rate prescribed by the Minister, whichever is higher. The minimum prescribed daily rate is 06 Malaysian Ringgit. 

If a female worker, after commencing her maternity leave, dies from any cause during the eligible period (of 60 days), employer is required to pay maternity allowance to the nominee or legal representative from the day of commencement of maternity leave to the day immediately preceding her death.  

Source: Sections 37-44A of the Employment Act 1955 (Act 265); Employment (Minimum rate of maternity allowance) Regulations 1976

More about parental leave:

The term parental leave doesn’t exist in Malaysian legislation. Thus, the law is silent on it and it depends on the company policy.