Rights group launches online petition calling for one-week paternity leave

Ida Nadirah Ibrahim
The Human Resources Ministry has proposed introducing three days’ paternity leave for fathers working in the private sector, to be funded by employers. — AFP pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 16 — In conjunction with Father’s Day today, a public petition was launched by rights group Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) for Putrajaya to introduce seven days of paternity leave in Malaysia, as what is currently allocated for civil servants.

The petition on Change.org was launched on Friday, and will continue until the group receives a commitment from the government.

WAO advocacy manager Yu Ren Chung told Malay Mail the petition was launched to create more awareness and to highlight the issue with the government and the public, following the effort by the Federal administration to amend the Employment Act 1955.

“The [Human Resources] ministry has proposed to amend the Employment Act and we definitely welcome effort and thank ministry for it. But we would like to push further and say we could do better.

“In conjunction with Father’s Day, WAO is promoting the allocation for introduction for paid paternity leave in the private sector in the country,” Yu said when contacted today.

At present, there are no legal provisions on paternity leave for the private sector area.

The government had proposed to introduce a three-day leave for fathers to be included in the labour law.

“Three days is not enough for father. The reason we are proposing or would like to see it to be seven days is because fathers want to play a role in childbirth,” said Yu, adding that many who have signed and commented on the petition were men.

“Fathers want to play a role and want to support their wife in being part of the process as well as to bond with their new born baby.

“Looking at gender equality and gender roles, we want to move away from the idea that childcare and childbirth is solely the responsibility of mothers.”

The petition has as of 8pm yesterday reached over 1,700 signatures.

It stated several studies had shown children with involved fathers have better social, emotional and cognitive development, and perform better in school.

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