Most workplaces today have policies that look after the wellbeing of their pregnant employees. However, it is not uncommon to hear of occasions where women who are pregnant face some form of job discrimination, such as being passed over for promotions or placed on prolonged probation. A survey conducted by Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) found that over 40% of women experienced job discrimination due to their pregnancy. The good news is that there are laws protecting working women in Malaysia against discrimination.
It is important be familiar with your entitlements as a pregnant employee. Every female employee have certain rights in the workplace before, during and after their pregnancy. For instance, pregnant employees are entitled to the same benefits received by other employees with medical conditions. Also, companies cannot dismiss you on the basis of pregnancy especially when you are still capable of performing at work.
The new Budget 2018 aims to empower more women especially in workplaces, and have introduced paid maternity leave of 90 days.
Budget 2018 has also declared that all new office buildings in Kuala Lumpur and beyond be equipped with Childcare Centres, and it is a requirement for all GLC main buildings. Keep yourself informed on new policies and changes that are taking place, and what avenues are there to help you through.
Besides that, you could look out for facilities for new mothers in your workplace. For example, is there a sick bay with a nurse if you experience complications with your pregnancy, or simply need a place to rest? Is there a clean, private and comfortable room for expressing breast milk? Can you bring your baby or toddler to work if you don’t have support at home, or is there a creche or a day-care centre that can provide care while you’re working?
It’s useful to have a chat with your Human Resources manager to find out what company entitlements there are for mothers and mothers-to-be. Some companies have policies that help women stay longer in the workplace, such as extended maternity leave.
Besides what’s on the books, you can get a better understanding of your workplace by speaking to colleagues who have had children about their pregnancy or birth experiences and how things may have affected them at work.
If you’re interviewing for a new job, it’s beneficial to inquire potential employers about their maternity policies. The idea is to gauge the kind of support companies offer their pregnant employees.
It is all about timing and strategy in balancing your career and pregnancy. If a certain company is good for your career but doesn’t provide avenues for pregnant women, you could consider investing a year or more to upskill and plump up your resume to seek a better opportunity and support with another company.