Maternity Rights and Leave

Information on maternity benefits and employment protection in Malaysia...

Labour law in Malaysia for expatriates who are pregnant is not specific, so it is best to discuss options with the employer.

If a woman has a work permit visa, some companies do provide pregnancy benefits, but on a case-by-case basis. Malaysia issues three different types of work permits, each of which has different allocations for health benefits.

Maternal and paternal benefits

The average maternity leave allocation for Malaysians and expatriates alike in the private sector is 30 days paid leave, if the woman is employed by a Malaysian company. This means she must already have a valid work permit and visa.

Pregnancy-related medical benefits from private companies in Malaysia vary greatly, as Malaysian Labour Law (Kementerian Sumber Manusia Malaysia) states that the maximum number of days for maternity leave is 30 days, unpaid. Most companies (provided the agreement is included in an employment contract) cover some medical expenses, and offer additional unpaid leave.

If the woman is the spouse of an expatriate with a Malaysian work permit, approximately one week of paid leave is allocated to the father for the delivery and post-delivery period.

Medical costs for a pregnant spouse must be negotiated as part of a work contract prior to relocating to Malaysia. Alternatively, buy a medical insurance plan on arrival in Malaysia that covers pregnancy care, delivery costs and post-natal care.

Expatriates intending to work in Malaysia under an expatriate contract must negotiate full health insurance before signing a contract. Costs for a pregnancy should also be included in the work contract. If local labour law offices are called in to arbitrate medical claims, they usually revert to what is or is not stated in the work contract.

Information about Malaysian labour law can be obtained from the Malaysian Human Resource Ministry (Kementerian Sumber Manusia Malaysia).