I REFER to the report “Rohani: Flexi-hours key to getting women back to work” (The Star, July 10).
Women and men need time to juggle the family, especially after welcoming a child to the family.
Working Malaysians are only entitled to maternity leave and not paternity leave.
Perhaps it is time to review the parental leave policy.
Research has shown that women find it difficult to get a similar position and pay cheque after a long absence from the workforce.
In Australia, an employee who works at least 12 months in an organisation may be entitled to up to 52 weeks unpaid parental leave.
The provision also allows the employee to be back at work with the same position or a similar post, and with the nearest in pay and status to her original job prior to taking leave.
Many couples take turns for parental leave. While one works, the other spouse takes care of the children at home.
Secondly, it is now very common to see men taking over the women’s role at home.
Working couples may decide that the husband takes leave for the child, worrying that women may find it more difficult to get back to work after a long period.
In some cases, a husband may choose to take care of a child at home if the wife is making more money than him.
In this case, Malaysians should be allowed the flexibility of paternity leave as well. This will allow continuity of a woman at work.
Some European countries allow the parents to choose from two, three or four years of maternity leave.
However, such a long absence from work may further deter women from re-entering the workforce and losing her competitive edge.
In this case, I suggest women under maternity leave be entitiled for short, flexible-hour courses during maternity leave.
This could help them gain more soft skills while taking time off to take care of their children.
When they get back to work, these additional skills will come in handy to cope with new changes within their organisation.
It is high time to study a better parental policy for Malaysians.
A better parental policy does not only ease women back into the workforce, it also provides better growing time for children.
CHEW HOONG LING
President, Voice of Women
Published: Thursday July 11, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Thursday July 11, 2013 MYT 7:24:02 AM