Protect, don't dismiss, pregnant women workers

Posted by Derrick A Paulo under Labour Watch on 8 April 2007

The rising number of pregnant employees seeking redress through MOM for unfair dismissal, with 90 per cent of claims substantiated, is evidence of discriminatory and unfair practices.

There is no baby in the Budget, and some MPs want to see some action to remedy that.

Dr Amy Khor (Hong Kah GRC) wants the Government to give women more protection, of the employment sort, by allowing errant employers less opportunity to unfairly dismiss their pregnant staff.

Currently, if a female employee is dismissed 6 months into her pregnancy, the company would have to compensate her for maternity benefits. Dr Khor wants the protection to kick in when a woman is just 3 months pregnant.

The rising number of pregnant employees seeking redress through the Manpower Ministry for unfair dismissal, with 90 per cent of claims substantiated, is evidence of unfair practices, she said. "Such discriminatory practices clearly undermine the morale of female employees and work against our social objective of promoting procreation," said Dr Khor. She also suggested paternity leave to alleviate the problem of discrimination.

Dr Lim Wee Kiak (Sembawang GRC) asked the Government to take a cue from France, where fertility rates have risen to 1.94 children born per woman. Large families there get shopping discounts and reduced fares on public transport.

He said: "While I don't expect the Government ... to reduce transport fares (it) should study carefully and review the tax relief for children, which has not kept pace with the rise in the cost of living."

The Kindergarten Financial Assistance Scheme could be extended, at a lesser subsidy amount, to middle-income families, Dr Lim also proposed.

Sources and Relevant Links:

Today Protect, don't dismiss, pregnant workers 28 February 2007

CSR - Singapore Compact GENERAL, LAUNCH OF SINGAPORE COMPACT - REMARKS BY MDM HALIMAH YACOB, NTUC ASSISTANT SECRETARY 26 January 2005


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