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Maternity and Paternity Leave in Malaysia: A Guide for Overseas Employers

Offering employees leave before and after the birth of a child is an important benefit that both supports the new parent, as well as secures the employee’s talent and ongoing role in the company.  Without it, both the employee and employer would face uncertainty during what should be a happy occasion.

Most countries do offer some type of maternity/paternity leave as a statutory entitlement, and employers are also free to modify their own policy and offer more than the minimum.  Malaysia does have statutory leave entitlements, and if you are new to hiring in Malaysia, this article will answer your basic questions about how to offer compliant leave to new parents.

Maternity Leave in Malaysia

What are the maternity leave entitlements in Malaysia?

The current maternity leave entitlement for new mothers in 2020 is 60 consecutive days with full pay.  A company can opt to extend the leave beyond 60 days, but without pay.  Public sector employees receive 90 days of leave.

How long does an employee have to work with a company to use maternity leave?

To avail of the maternity leave benefit, an employee must have worked for the same employer for a minimum of 90 days in the four months prior to starting leave.  Also, the employee has to give formal notice of the pregnancy and planned leave at least four months prior to the due date.

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Can an employee begin her maternity leave prior to giving birth?

The leave period can begin one month before the expected delivery date.

Do private sector employees receive 60 or 90 days?

Under the new Malaysian 2020 Budget, private sector employees can take 90 days of maternity leave, starting January 1, 2021.  The reasoning behind this increase is that Malaysia was lagging the international standard leave of 98 days, and this policy would support both the mother and newborn.

The government has cautioned companies that refuse to offer the increased leave amount, and that the change would be mandatory.

Paternity Leave in Malaysia

Are fathers entitled to paternity leave in Malaysia?

Paternity leave is often offered to new fathers in Malaysia by company policy, but not by statute.  Still, it is customary for companies to offer 1-3 days of paid leave, or longer unpaid leave.

Are there exceptions?

Public sector employees are entitled to 7-14 days of paternity leave depending on the agency, but there is no plan to extend this to the private sector.

Adoption Leave in Malaysia

Do parents of adopted children receive maternity/paternity leave?

There is no leave offered by statute to adopting parents, but many companies will offer some type of leave or benefit in the employment contract.

Do you need more information on Malaysia?

Employers new to Malaysia may have more questions such as:

Can an employee be terminated during maternity leave?

How long can a new mother take unpaid leave after the paid maternity leave period ends?

What are the employer’s rights if the employee takes the paid leave, and then resigns immediately after?

Our clients contend with complex questions like these when employing abroad, and we assist by guiding them through the unfamiliar network of legal and employment compliance issues.  We make international employment simple.

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The information in this article is subject to changes in local legislation.

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