Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Government circular details maternity leave rules

FOLLOWING the enactment of the Maternity Leave Order 2011 on New Year's Eve, the government through the Prime Minister's Office yesterday issued a circular outlining the new regulations.

The circular states that maternity leave is offered to civil service officers and staff who are legally married according to the laws of Brunei Darussalam.

Those entitled to apply for maternity leave are female officers and staff employed on a permanent service, month-to-month, on contract, site-staff, open-vote and daily paid.

The 2011 Order allows 15 weeks or 105 days of leave which must be taken two weeks before the expected delivery date.

In order to qualify for the leave, applicants must be endorsed by a government medical officer and must be in Brunei during the entire period of leave, states the circular.

Only those stationed overseas, forced to deliver abroad due to complications with the delivery or pregnancy or forced to seek post-natal treatment overseas are exempted from the second criterion.

The circular issued by the Prime Minister's Office also points out that the time taken under maternity leave will not be deducted from any excess in annual leave and period taken under maternity leave will not be accepted as annual leave.

With regards salary payments for those on maternity leave, the new directive states that officers or staff in the civil service, who have been in service more than six months or 180 days, will be given their full salary package while those who have been in service less than six months or 90 to 180 days will only be paid half.

Those in service with less than 90 days are not entitled to the salary package while on maternity leave, states the circular.

The new directive also includes a ruling in the event of a miscarriage.

According to the new directive, if the applicant is less than 24 weeks pregnant and suffers from a miscarriage, she will be granted sick leave.

If the said officer or staff is more than 24 weeks pregnant when she suffers miscarriage, she will then be granted maternity leave of eight weeks.

The approval for both sick leave and maternity leave must be authorised by a government medical officer.

The circular issued yesterday, which also highlights the new directive as being effective as of January 1 2011, automatically cancels out the Prime Minister's Office Circular 17/1993 issued on September 4, 1993, according to the Prime Minister's Office.

Source: The Brunei Times

Pada menjunjung titah perkenan Kebawah Duli Yang Maha Mulia Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan dan Yang Di-Pertuan Negara Brunei Darussalam memaklumkan Peraturan Cuti Beranak 2011 yang dikeluarkan dalam Surat Keliling Jabatan Perdana Menteri (JPM) Bil:1/2011 Negara Brunei Darussalam adalah mengikut syarat kelayakan yang mana cuti beranak diberikan kepada pegawai-pegawai dan kakitangan perempuan dalam Perkhidmatan Awam yang sah berkahwin di sisi Undang-undang Negara Brunei Darussalam dan mereka di dalam Perkhidmatan Tetap, Kontrak,"Site-Staff", Sebulan Ke Sebulan, Open-Vote dan Gaji Hari.

Tempoh keseluruhan cuti beranak yang diberikan adalah selama 15 minggu (105 hari) dan hendaklah diambil dua (2) minggu sebelum tarikh dijangka beranak.

Sementara Syarat Am pula, cuti tersebut hendaklah disahkan oleh Pegawai Perubatan Kerajaan dan Cuti Beranak itu hendaklah dihabiskan di dalam Negara Brunei Darussalam sahaja kecuali pegawai yang bertugas di luar Negara Brunei Darussalam, pegawai yang terpaksa beranak di luar Negara Brunei Darussalam kerana kerumitan (complications) perbidanan dan pegawai yang terpaksa mendapatkan rawatan selepas beranak di luar Negara Brunei Darussalam.

Cuti beranak tidak akan ditolak dari sebarang baki cuti tahunan. Dalam tempoh cuti beranak tidak ada kelayakan cuti tahunan.

Manakala pembayaran gaji bagi cuti beranak diberikan dengan bergaji penuh bagi perkhidmatan yang melebihi 180 hari, setengah bayaran gaji bagi perkhidmatan 90 hari hingga 180 hari dan tanpa gaji bagi perkhidmatan kurang daripada 90 hari.

Di dalam keadaan yang melibatkan keguguran kurang dari 24 minggu kandungan, pegawai perempuan itu akan diberikan cuti sakit. Manakala di dalam keadaan yang melibatkan kematian anak dalam kandungan lebih dari 24 minggu, pegawai perempuan itu akan diberikan cuti beranak selama lapan (8) minggu sahaja.

Pengesahan kebenaran cuti sakit dan cuti beranak mestilah disahkan oleh Pegawai Perubatan Kerajaan.

Peraturan ini mula berkuat kuasa pada 1 Januari 2011.

Surat Keliling JPM bilangan 17/1993 bertarikh 4 September 1993 adalah dengan ini dibatalkan.

Source: Pelita Brunei

In light of His Majesty's recent endorsement of 105 days maternity leave for working mothers, Bruneian women have called for a similar amendment to the Employment Order which would enable fathers to take paternity leave of up to two weeks to spend time with their newborns.

The Employment Order 2009 makes no provisions for paternal leave but leaves it to the discretion of respective employers.

Expectant mother Rohayah Abu Bakri, told The Brunei Times, that fathers should be entitled to a period of paternal leave, especially for the birth of their first child.

"I expect my husband to equal responsibility as a parent, and that means being there from day one," said the 34-year-old accounts executive.

"Not only does paternity leave enables the husband to provide care and support for the woman during labour and childbirth, but it also allows him to spend time with the baby in those precious first weeks. Which father would want to miss out on that?"

Rohayah explained that during the birth of her first child, her husband Fazlan Mansor, who is employed in the private sector, was only able to take a week off and that he had to take it from his annual leave which was only 18 days.

"I do regret not being able to spend time with our daughter when she was born," said Fazlan."I think that a man should know all the things his partner goes through in those first month - the sleepless nights, the diaper changes. It also gives you the chance to bond with the baby in the same way a mother would."

"If we are truly a society that puts emphasis on the importance of family relationships and responsibilities, then I think paternity leave should be seriously considered," stated the father of two.

The UK and Australia have introduced two weeks' paid paternity leave for fathers, with British Prime Minister David Cameron being the first leader to take statutory paternity leave after the birth of his fourth child earlier this year.

However, Asean countries are lagging far behind with only Indonesia, Philippines and Myanmar offering fathers paid paternity leave of a maximum of one week Thirty-year-old teaching assistant, Alina Hj Ismadduin, said that workplace attitudes need to change in order for paternity leave to become the norm.

"My husband works in the oil and gas industry and his company is quite good about things like paternity leave. During the birth of our first child, he was entitled to two weeks off," she said.

Alina shared that when her son was born two years ago, she had to stay at the hospital for several days because she had undergone a Caesarean section and the baby was diagnosed with jaundice.

"If my husband was not there for their first week I wouldn't have been able to cope. I had complications during the birth because my baby was breech, and then when he was born he had jaundice. I needed someone to run errands for me and get me everything that I needed."

The mother of one added that fathers need to be there to bond with their child and to understand how hard it is in first few months of a newborn's life.

"It's no walk in the park. Because I was also in confinement for 40 days, I needed my husband's help to go out and get things because I wasn't able to. Many men do not take on equal responsibility for childcare. But how can I raise my son to be a responsible man if his father does not practice the same thing?" she said.

Jasmine Yong, who runs tailoring business, said that there needs to be an official policy mandating paternity leave otherwise employers may be reluctant to lose productivity by granting an employee paid leave.

"When I was working in a bank I took my 56 days maternity leave but I also took an extra two months of unpaid leave to spend time with my baby and breastfeed," she said. "My employer was not keen on me taking so much time off because my department was understaffed and I felt pressure to cut my leave short and return to work."

Jasmine shared that part of the reason she started her own business was so she could spend more time with her three children.

"I think it's a great thing that His Majesty has made extended maternity leave mandatory for all employers because they cannot pressure you now (to return to work) because it's the law and it is your entitlement."

In his new year's titah, His Majesty announced that the government will be enforcing the new Maternity Leave Order 2011 to provide for the pre- and post-natal needs and health interest of mothers. Effective January 1, applies to all female officers in the civil service and will also be extended to citizens and permanent residents employed in the private sector.

Source: The Brunei Times

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