Pregnant worker terminated by MNC with no maternity benefits payout. Employment Act still unable to protect pregnant women workers adequately.
I AM five months pregnant with my first child and my services with a large American multinational company will be terminated by the month-end.
I have appealed repeatedly to the company to reconsider my maternity benefits payout but in vain. The company has refused outright my appeal in alignment with the Employment Act, which states:
'Maternity leave benefits will be payable even if the pregnant employee is retrenched within the last three months of pregnancy.'
In my current situation, I will probably be at a disadvantage in my job search. As I am not entitled to a maternity benefits payout on retrenchment, the financial burden to my family will increase with medical consultancy and delivery fees ahead.
Another clause in the Employment Act states: 'Maternity leave benefits will be payable even if the pregnant employee is dismissed without sufficient cause within the last six months of pregnancy, which includes termination of employment with or without notice.'
According to the company's unofficial definition, 'termination without sufficient cause' and 'retrenchment' can be used interchangeably. This causes more confusion over eligibility for the maternity benefits payout on terminating the services of a pregnant employee.
I believe I am not the only pregnant woman caught in such a situation and I hope the Ministry of Manpower will review the Employment Act to provide better protection to pregnant women, in alignment with the Government's encouragement of couples to procreate.
ST Forum Provide better protection for pregnant women in workforce 3 August 2009