Malaysian women laud Career Comeback tax exemption as ‘encouraging’ move

Tan Mei Zi
Career Comeback Programme participants getting advice from Baker Hughes APAC senior talent acquisition manager Karen Choe (left) during a workshop on October 29. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 11 — Malaysian women on career breaks are more motivated and reassured to return to work thanks to TalentCorp’s Career Comeback Programme, which includes the facilitation of a one-year tax exemption for women returnees.

Vimala Kalapanaikar, a mother-of-two, described the initiative as an “encouraging” move by the government to help women ease themselves back into the workplace.

“I read about the tax exemption recently and I’m very thankful for it.

“It’s a great move because as a woman who has been on a career break, I can’t be sure that I will secure the same salary that I was earning before.

“Furthermore, I will have to spend money to send my kids to the nursery once I return to my career, so the tax exemption will be helpful in that regard,” she told Malay Mail.

Vimala was met at a workshop hosted at Baker Hughes Malaysia under the Career Comeback Programme, which aims to reskill and upskill women who are looking to jump-start their careers after a hiatus.

Vimala said that making a career comeback was always part of her long-term plan. — Picture by Choo Choy May

The programme provides a one-year tax exemption for women returning to work which has been extended for an additional four years to 2023 under Budget 2020.

Career Comeback workshop participant Fara Baharuddin praised TalentCorp for its efforts in facilitating the government’s bid to increase the number of women in the workforce.

“I think the tax exemption is a fabulous initiative that the government is doing to get women back to work.

“It doesn’t just benefit women, but there’s also a financial incentive for corporations to hire those who were previously on a break,” she shared with Malay Mail.

Fara added that the hiring incentive would be a great way for organisations to see the value of female employees and hopefully quash the negative stereotypes that continue to plague women who have a gap in their resumes.

Fara decided to hit the pause button on work after 18 years of the daily grind and is now ready to dive back into her career. — Picture by Choo Choy May

Data from the Ministry of Education shows that women account for 61 per cent of public university enrolment in Malaysia. However, many women leave the workforce in their prime, mostly citing family-related responsibilities.

The Department of Statistics’ Labour Force Survey places the current national female labour force participation rate at 55.2 per cent (2018) and the federal government aims to raise that number to 56.5 per cent by 2020.

To realise this vision, TalentCorp runs the Career Comeback Programme to coach women on self-branding, interview skills, and practical knowledge that will help them secure a job.

The tax exemption is one of several strategies that the government through TalentCorp has in place to ease the transition back to work for those who were on a career break.

It goes hand-in-hand with TalentCorp’s move to help companies implement Work-Life Practices (WLPs) that support the well-being of their employees, particularly new parents looking to strike a balance between home life and professional responsibilities.

Malaysian women who have three years of full-time work experience prior to taking a career break and are under 58 years of age at the time of application are eligible to apply for the tax exemption.

For the full list of eligibility criteria and more information on applying, visit TalentCorp’s website or e-mail:

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