9 to 5 Job Guide for Pregnant Working Mothers

March 11, 20202:31 pm2378 views
9 to 5 Job Guide for Pregnant Working Mothers
9 to 5 Job Guide for Pregnant Working Mothers

Pregnant employees are protected under the Employment Act. In Thailand for example, pregnant working mothers are protected under the Labor Protection Act, B. E. 2541 (1998) which cited that female employees in Thailand receive protection from termination of employment due to pregnancy. Thai pregnant employees are also entitled to maternity leave of up to 90 days, inclusive of holidays. 

Whilst the Employment Act clearly protects pregnant working employees, however, expecting working mothers in Southeast Asia are still facing discrimination and dismissal due to their pregnancy. As reported by The Asean Post, pregnant women get passed over for promotions, are side-lined, and even fired. Women are also subjected to baseless perceptions where employers believe that working women will not be as good at their jobs after returning from maternity leave, such as they would not be as committed, would not willing to stay late, or would request additional time off. 

To protect pregnant women’s right at the workplace, it is important for HR and employees to understand their role around maternity policy. While HR leaders should align the company’s policy with the state’s employment law without discriminating against anyone in the workplace, employees should understand their rights and roles during their pregnancy in the workplace. 

See also: How HR Can Support Pregnant Employees in the Workplace

To guide pregnant employees, here are some common Q&A that might help you. 

Do I have to tell the employer that I am pregnant or that I am breastfeeding? 

There is no law stating that employees are required to inform the employer when they are pregnant or breastfeeding. However, company policy might cite the term. In addition, it is important for you and your child’s health and safety protections, and for maternity leave purposes, that you provide your employer with written notification as early as possible. When an employer has written notification, the employer might revisit their original risk assessment to identify if they need to do more to make sure you and your baby are not exposed to risk. This is especially important if you are working in a high-risk workplace environment. 

Is there a specific law protecting pregnant employees? 

Yes. There is a specific law that both employees and employers should understand regarding workplace pregnancy. In Asia, this law might vary from one region to another. Below are some examples of maternity law in some regions. 

  • Singapore – Pregnant employees are eligible for 16 weeks of maternity paid maternity leave 
  • Indonesia – Pregnant employees are entitled to 90 days of maternity leave before giving birth and 90 days of maternity leave after giving birth. 
  • Malaysia – Pregnant employees are entitled to maternity leave for a period of no less than 60 consecutive days. 
  • India – The maximum period for maternity benefit is twelve weeks, six weeks up to and including the day of delivery and six weeks immediately following that day. 
  • Thailand – Pregnant employees are legally entitled to maternity leave of up to 90 days, inclusive holidays, but are only entitled to receive payment from 45 of those 90 days. 
  • Hong Kong – Pregnant employees are eligible for 10 weeks paid maternity leave, with some notes. 
  • Vietnam – Pregnant employees are entitled to six-month paid maternity leave.
What should I do if I am being discriminated against during my pregnancy in the workplace? 

Pregnancy discrimination in the workplace occurs when an employer discriminates on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions. Pregnancy discrimination might include denial of time off or reasonable accommodations for pregnant employees, firing or demoting a pregnant employee, forced time-off or restrictions on work, and any other negative employment action taken because of an employee’s pregnant or related medical condition. 

If as a pregnant employee, you undergo one or more of the above acts, you should first file the discriminatory act, review your company policy, and consult to the HR department. Filing your report will give better consideration for HR and legal entities to proceed with your case. Your file could contain anything such as documents (company’s rule, policy, and/or state law), photographs, and/or recording. You should remember, however, reporting a case of discrimination could invite bigger risk such as court, company shut down, and/or dismissal for employees. 

If you still need more guidance on reporting workplace discrimination, you can contact  AWARE Organisation or TADM eService for advice. 

Can I rearrange my hours of work to decrease my stress level? 

Employers are entitled to protect and support pregnant working women. Thus, there should be an adjustment to remove possible risk, such as workplace stress. 

Am I entitled to more frequent rest breaks? 

As an expectant mother, you are likely to need to go to the toilet more often, as it is important to drink plenty of fluids while you are pregnant and when you are breastfeeding. It is sensible to agree on the timing and flexibility of rest breaks with your employer as part of the assessment process.

For further information, employees are encouraged to equip themselves with knowledge and information regarding company policy, workplace practice, and state law. In case your employer’s practise does not align with state employment law, employees are always welcomed to contact and consult a responsible party such as HR and/or lawyer if necessary. 

Read also: 5 Creative Ideas How Workplace Culture Can Support Working Mommies

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