RELATABLE: Maternity leave should be 'parental leave'
SHAH ALAM - Company policies should cater to both genders fairly
Content Forum executive director Mediha Mahmood said one way to do this is to allocate for paid leave without putting a label on it.
"We are adults so we do not need to justify the leave that we take, and we should just call it parental leave instead of maternity leave," she said.
"So everytime parents have newborns, they can decide whether they want to use that leave," she explained during Sinar Daily's Relatable programme entitled 'Women and The Power of Choice'.
Mediha noted that now that work from home arrangements is possible, men can also be at home as newborns need both parents.
"It's really unfair for the family unit to leave it to the mothers to take care of everything," she pointed out.
Malaysia Board of Technologists (MBOT) board member Puan Seri Ts Dr Mahaletchumy Arujanan said that leave should be shared between parents so employers will not be prejudiced against women.
Dr Mahaletchumy Arujanan said this policy should be adopted so that employers would not discriminate in hiring women.
"This is so employers will hire both men and women equally according to their qualifications and not have this mindset of rejecting women for work due to women having to take maternity leave," she elaborated.
Meanwhile, Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) vice chairman Professor Datuk Noor Aziah Mohd Awal said maternity leave was not created to discriminate against women, or to make it difficult for them to secure jobs.
"The maternity leave provided are a sign that women are respected for who they are, as mothers who produce leaders of the world," she said.
She pointed out that men and employers are the ones who need to be educated to understand a woman's struggle
She explained that the maternity leave given to women is so important for mother and child to bond, physically and psychologically.
"This is where the government should come in and give incentives to employers who hire women," she said adding that this would help company find individuals to fill in the women's post temporarily when they have to go on leave.