Efforts to boost number of women in workforce

Sivakumar (right) and Chow at the launch ceremony of Women Empowerment Month 2023 at Setia SPICE Convention Centre. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

THE Federal Government is pushing to increase the participation of women in the workforce by 20% within the next two years.

Human Resources Minister V. Sivakumar said the participation of women in the country’s workforce was still a low 39% and that the government was looking at ways to improve this figure.

“We want the participation of women in all employment sectors to be at least 59%,” he said during a press conference at the Women Empowerment Month launch at Setia SPICE Convention Centre in Penang.

He said that although the total number of women graduating from higher learning institutions was more than men, the latter still made up about 80% of the workforce.

Sivakumar said the ministry also wanted to ensure that women who left the workforce due to factors such as family commitments would be able to work again.

He said the amended Employment Act 1955 had introduced flexible work arrangements championed by TalentCorp, which will encourage women who have left the workforce due to family commitments, to return.

On the new provisions in the amended Act which came into effect on Jan 1 this year, Sivakumar said there would be no moratorium or delays on its implementation.

He said the amendments were made in accordance with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards and involved public and private sectors.

The amendments touch on flexible working arrangements, increase in overtime payment for employees with wages up to RM4,000 per month, reduction of working hours from 48 hours to 45, 60 days of hospitalisation leave per year in addition to non-hospitalisation sick leave, increase in maternity leave from 60 days to 98, and paternity leave of seven continuous days per birth.

Present at the event were Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Aiman Athirah Sabu, Human Resources Ministry’s deputy secretary-general of operations Datuk Muhd Khair Razman Mohamed Annuar and Talent Corporation Malaysia Bhd (TalentCorp) group chief executive officer Thomas Mathew.

Earlier, the Human Resource Develop-ment Corporation announced that it would hold its National Human Capital Conference and Exhibition (NHCCE) 2023 – Northern Region from May 31 to June 1.

The event is organised in partnership with the Penang Skill Development Centre (PSDC) and will take place at the Setia Spice Convention Centre.

Sivakumar said the NHCCE 2023 – Northern Region will be an effective platform for the region’s subject matter experts and industry players to develop a constructive discourse that would take Malaysia’s talent to the next level.

“I hope all industry players here will take advantage of this opportunity and be part of the event,” he said during his speech at the event.

He said the conference would feature more than 20 renowned local and international speakers, 50 exhibitors from various industries and about 1,000 delegates from Penang, Perak, Kedah and Perlis.

The WEM launch was held in conjunction with the Human Resources Ministry’s Meet the Clients Day at the same venue.

There were various booths that featured 14 departments and agencies under the ministry and three state agencies.

It was organised to provide the community with a platform to engage representatives of the ministry and state government.

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