Parenting is no easy task for full-time working parents. Every parent has gone through the madness of having to juggle between work and family life, especially if you are a new mother or single parent.
Are there companies in Malaysia that understand these challenges and support parents? We did some digging, and have compiled a list of some family-friendly companies in the country we would like to salute. As this is not an exhaustive list, if you are aware of companies who we should include, drop makchic a line!
• IBM Malaysia
IBM provides maternity medical covers and 90 days of maternity leave for new mothers, with the possibility of extended leave. There are also facilities for nursing mothers, such as nursing rooms fully equipped with a refrigerator and nursing sofas.
IBM also provides benefits like maternity covers, a blessing for women who have not taken up any personal medical insurance.
IBM has a long tradition of management by objectives and flexible working hours. Its employees are allowed to organise their working hours according to business requirements.
“We recognise that women are the predominant ones to leave the workforce after they are married or when they take on the role as caregiver. There is usually little incentive for them to return,” said IBM Managing Director Chong Chye Neo.
A number of employees under the mobility programme can work from home or at customer facilities. There is also an arrangement for part-time work, such as a two or three-day week. They hope to retain women in their workforce, and persuade other women to reclaim their careers.
• EY Malaysia
EY is one of the companies in Malaysia that is conscious of the challenges of balancing work and life in today’s environment. In EY they have in place a formal Flexible Work Arrangement (FWA) and an informal FWA.
A formal FWA can be taken on its own or combined. It allows employees in the supervisory role to have staggered (flexible) working hours. The choices are to start work from 7:30 am – 4:30 pm or 9:30am to 6:30pm. They have ‘5 at 5’ programmes that encourage employees to leave work by 5pm every last Friday of the month. There is also the flexibility of working part-time from home, career break, sabbatical leave and phased retirement.
The informal FWA, meanwhile, allows employee to work from home. They are able to take time off to handle personal matters, closely working with team leaders and members to ensure engagement objectives are met.
Other initiatives in support of family’s well-being are the availability of nursing rooms for nursing mothers, annual activities and the fun-filled ‘Bring Your Kids to Work Day’. These aim to help encourage social interactions with colleagues and for family bonding.
At EY there are 90 days of maternity leave, 5 days of paternity leave, and ‘childcare leave’ for parents (gender neutral) – this is also applicable for adoptive parents. There is also ‘home rest leave’ – when employees are unwell or unable to work, without having to provide medical leave certificates.
EY Malaysia Talent Leader and Asean Diversity & Inclusiveness Leader Ms Lee Soo Fern said these programmes help employees feel included, supported and recognised.
“Employees have a greater sense of belonging and a stronger belief that they are able to succeed, both professionally and personally, while with the organisation.”
• Nestle Malaysia
Nestle Malaysia allows an employee 12 weeks of paid maternity leave, with an option to extend another 12 weeks, unpaid. This is applicable to all primary caregivers of newborns, including male employees and adoptive parents.
The company offers ‘flex-points’ with different benefits such as child day-care and medical or dental treatments. There are also vacation leave packages, as well as purchases of IT gadgets such as smartphones.
Nestle also launched their Maternity Protection Policy for its employees worldwide. It includes employment protection, flexible working arrangements and guaranteed access to breastfeeding rooms during working hours.
• Citibank Malaysia
Citibank is the first bank in Malaysia that offers childcare facilities to its employees with their ‘CitiKids Care’ program.
‘CitiKids Care’ is operated by Children’s Studio, which is part of the Peter & Jane Group. The company provides 12 Montessori qualified teachers and childcare providers.
Chief Executive Officer of Citibank Berhad Sanjeev Nanavati has said: “We provide the best of both worlds. Women can pursue exciting career options at Citi while taking care of their young children. We believe that Citi is and will continue to be the preferred destination for working women in the banking industry.”
The bank also provides a string of benefits to support women with their career advancements – maternity leave of up to 90 days, sabbatical leave and Flexible Working Strategies (FWS) guidelines that offer flexibilities for employees with arrangements. These include ‘flextime’ work, remote work, compressed work week, job sharing, part-time work and leave of absence.
Citibank also strives to support women’s career development through their Women Leading Citi and Women’s Leadership Development sponsorship programmes.
• DKSH Malaysia
DKSH Malaysia, which provides market expansion services, offers flexible work arrangements, family-friendly facilities and work-life benefits.
They said they constantly re-invent their HR policies with programmes to support the well-being of family and new parents. They offer 60 days of maternity leave (extendable to another 30 calendar days) and paternity leave. There are also flexible working hours of 7am – 4pm and 9am – 6pm.
Other family-friendly initiatives include the availability of mother rooms and reduced work for certain conditions, like women in their 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Expectant mothers also have designated parking spots.
Under ‘family care leave’, employees are entitled to take leave to attend to their spouse, children or parents stricken with serious illness.
The top reason cited by mothers for taking a step back from work is time constraints on a balanced work and family life. From not having reliable carers to help with the kids to managing school pick-ups, it is tough for parents. May more companies in Malaysia work on initiatives that support women and create a family-friendly environment.
By Dessy Barnaby
Dessy left her PR career in exchange for perfecting her critical negotiation skills with her two children. She has found solace in writing and is now a freelance writer.
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Do you know of other companies who have family-friendly policies? Are you a company that prides itself on supporting women and mothers? Write to us at [email protected] so we can include you in this list.