Monday, May 24, 2010

Maternity Leave & Disrespectful People

One stupid letter in The Star was the most widely emailed article. Not the first one, which was a piece by a rep from ILO, but the reader's letter in response to the article. I know some of you would have thought "Gee, I hope Dali read this and will write something on it". Well I did, and I am. The content of the reply was deplorable and disrespectful in so many ways. My sensitive comments in red.

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.



checkitout said...

Singapore to invest in Johor

UEM Land

PameloTeoh said...

its either the politicians high up there shove a pencil up him to put that article on or he may have done it himself(that I think he deserve the sack from not writing ever again).

Born2Reign said...

Marisa just cursed her own mother.

What Marisa is proposing is that Malaysia should be like Singapore, where birthrates are so low that she has to import workers born in other countries.

When China had the closed economy she was a dead country, eating up her own children. Why are we not like those "Westerners" who believe in baking more and more pies, instead of eating and sharing from one miserable pie? Imagine McDonalds vs. traditional kopitiam coffee.

Imagine if the mothers of Bill Gates and Li Ka Shing decided that their children were cost projections and not to give birth to them?

Hence this is the difference between poverty thinking and abundance thinking. Poverty thinking (like UMNO and communism) leads to decay and death,
while abundance thinking (where success breeds success, competition breeds creativity etc) is life, iPhones and iPads ;-)

see said...

But Dali, women always disadvantaged in employment. Many companies prefer men & one reason is maternity leave issue. It's a fact whether we like it or not.

random said...

wow I cannot believe the writer has the balls (or not) to write such a letter in public..

you're probably right about the writer using a fake name/gender

Mona said...

I think 2 months maternity leave is sufficient for the time being.

We should only increase it (to encourage more women to have more kids) when Malaysian birth rate reach critical stage i.e below 2.

Born2Reign said...

Malaysian children are today raised by Indonesians. Soon we will have Indonesian morals, culture and values. Thanks to our 2 months maternity leave and high cost of daycare.

So future opportunity for Malaysians is to be domestic maids for Indonesians. This is not too far-fetched considering that economic growth and political democracy in Indonesia is much better. Also they don't have those Malay-bumi-Islam conversion issues which tears our society apart.

In summary let's continue to leave our children in Indonesian/Cambodian hands and send them to schools designed by BN politicians. I see a good business opportunity here to be future Malaysian maids agent.

Today even a decision whether or not to have kids is at the hands of politicians and capitalists. Tomorrow even the air that I breathe will have a price tag.

Dazeree Joan said...

I've been doing a bit of research about maternity rights since I'm going to be a first time mom soon.

Marisa's response is certainly a painful stab. She/He may be totally ignorant of what pregnant women/mothers go through or else she/he wouldn't be squawking his/her opinions at the top of her head.

Why Capital Gains Tax Should Not Be Implemented

I have to reiterate why a Capital Gains Tax is a very bad idea for Malaysia. Unique traits of Malaysia: a) Very open economy b) Ringg...