StarBiz: THE issue of maternity leave has received considerable attention lately by workers' and employers' representatives as well as the Government.
The past 60 years or so has witnessed more women of child-bearing age than ever before entering the job market worldwide as well as in our country. Maternity protection as it relates to work and family responsibilities is an essential entitlement in the context of the rights of working women.
The International Labour Organisation (ILO), the agency within the United Nations system devoted to promoting decent work, over more than 90 years of its existence, has adopted a series of international conventions regarding maternity protection.
The First Maternity Protection Convention was formulated in 1919, the year of the ILO's founding. Since then, the ILO has been a major voice on the rights of working women globally.
The most recent ILO Maternity Protection Convention (No. 183) and its accompanying Recommendation (No. 191), 2000, spell out what member states have adopted as the internationally recognised minimum standard that they should aspire to in terms of maternity leave of not less than 14 weeks, as well as non-discrimination in employment, facilities at work, and benefits and entitlements in the context of national law and practice.
Currently, of ILO's 183 member states, the vast majority of them, including several in the Asia Pacific region, provide 12 weeks or more maternity leave with more than 70 of those providing 14 weeks or more. Fewer than 30 countries mandate a maternity leave of less than 12 weeks.
Malaysia, for long an active member of the ILO and currently serving on two of the three benches of its governing body, could reinforce its commitment to workers' rights, in particular that of working women, by reviewing the status of our law and practice regarding maternity protection and consider how best these can be brought into conformity with the minimum internationally recognised standard.
Former United Nations/ILO regional deputy director for Asia & the Pacific.
I REFER to “Stay in step with the ILO on maternity leave” (The Star, May 21) and agree with the writer that maternity protection is an essential right of working women. (Hallo... essential right you say, and you agree, it seems what you think is a right is really just a privilege ... i.e. that the government or company are so nice to allow women to have maternity leave. Woman (if that is really you), do not confuse a right with a privilege, the former is enshrined in what we deem as our freedom and claims to be a citizen in a particular country, and that we would never be punished for exercising our freedom or claims. The latter is called a privilege as it implies only via the benevolence of our government or employers that we are accorded those privileges).
However, no reasonable woman, working or not, would argue that she should be paid while she is not working. (Hallo woman, I think you are confusing being pregnant as a leisure activity. When something is as fundamental as getting access to drinking water, do you think that is not a right? If a company does not provide access to drinking water, do you think that is fair? What about holidays? These are part of the cost of employment. Since when is maternity leave a disastrous impact on bottomline, if it is these companies should not be around. Psst, I think 99 out of every 100 woman think it is OK to get paid when on maternity leave). Paying a salary to a person that is not fulfilling his or her job description is economically disadvantageous to the employer and to the economy at large.
While the woman gets paid for not working, there is another prospective employee who may have to go hungry and homeless because he can't get a job. (Herein lies the suspicion as to why I think the writer is a male masquerading as a female, probably using her mum's IC, "he can't get a job", why does it have to be a he? "He" is probably not as good or qualified, probably thats why he DID NOT DESERVE TO GET EMPLOYED in the first place, not because he does not have a uterus!!! That argument as a "cost" and "taking away jobs from others who do not ever want to be pregnant" is as solid as quicksand).
By asking for ridiculously generous benefits, women's rights activists have bankrupted uncountable companies in the West and now they are trying to do the same here. (Pray tell, which companies, instead of making a ludricous brushstroke at half truths. You want to check out the maternity benefits at Microsoft, at GE, at Citigroup, at Nestle, at Nike, etc... A caring employer not only tries to maximise the output of their employees but knows how important it is to retain motivated employees. Loyalty and a sense of belonging does wonders to productivity and reduces enormous HR costs as they do not switch jobs so often. Its whether you view is as an "investment in your employees" or an unnecessary expense).
I wonder if the ILO and similar rights organisations only consider the rights of the workers when formulating their recommendations, or if they also look at the balance sheets of the companies.
A pregnant woman should resign, or take unpaid leave until her child is born and until he is big enough for her to return to work. Pregnant women are already unable to fulfill their duties because their condition does not usually allow them to perform as they should. The position left vacant should be filled by temporary or contract workers. (Spoken like a true small time entreprenuer who is grappling with minimal profits. You would be wonderful as a businessperson in an undeveloped country where you can put in place these laws yourself. You line of thinking not only is repulsive, its disrespectful to women in general. Pregnancy is not just a part of life, it is the very process why you exist in the first place. What you are saying is so disrespectful as if pregnancy needs to be viewed as a "cost factor").
Women should not be selfish and think they can have it all, and lawyers should consider that human rights are subservient to the performance of the economy. Every right has a price, and having no job gives you no money to pay for your rights. (Woman (if that is you), maybe you have your own plot of land for farming, but most married couples need to be both working in order to have a mortgage and a car early in their marriage. It so happens that most women need to be pregnant around 30 (i.e. early in their career) and do not have the luxury of living off a single salary. When you rob a person of their choice to be pregnant, or make their pregnancy as a hindrance, it is awful. I don't know man, maybe you were immaculately conceived cause you sounded like your were birthed from a stone ... probably in an office environment between 9-5).
A business proposition must be equitable to be successful, and by demanding that women be paid although they are not working, while others are practically starving because they can't get a job, the ILO jeopardises the interest of the mother, the child, and the future of the country.