Law to be amended to implement seven-day paternity leave in Sabah

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government has agreed to amend an article under the Sabah Labour Ordinance with regards to seven-day paternity leave which has yet to be enforced in the state.

Deputy Human Resources Minister Mustapha Sakmud said this following an incident where a woman allegedly died after her husband claimed that he was not granted a seven-day paternity leave to take care of her.

This came after the story went viral on social media and caught the attention of netizens, as the new father said he could not stay home with his wife for very long after she delivered their baby.

He claimed that he did not get his seven- day paternity leave and that he only managed to stay home with her for two days.

The wife died just four days after giving birth to their child.

Social media users have taken it that the man’s employer had refused to implement the seven-day mandatory paternity leave, practised in Peninsular Malaysia, as being one factor contributing to his wife’s death.

There was fury among netizens, with some calling for him to sue the company and some offered to take this matter to court on his behalf.

In his response, Mustapha had advised the people to stay calm and refrain from blaming anyone.

He said the seven-day mandatory paternity leave implemented in the peninsula is not yet enforced in Sabah.

“The state government had agreed to amend an article in the Sabah Labour Ordinance with regards to this matter,” he said, adding that the rights of the workers in Sabah would be defended in accordance with the guidelines set by the International Labour Organisation.

Mustapha said he had instructed the state Labour Department to investigate the matter.

He said he found out that the company involved had only given two days of paternity leave to the man while urging him to take annual leave to accompany his wife.

“According to sources from the company, the man had returned to work on the sixth day after his baby was born and he mentioned that both baby and his wife were doing fine.

“Unfortunately, he returned home to find his wife dead and their baby crying beside her,” added Mustapha.

Mustapha said the company had made some contributions to the man and is ready to assist in any way possible.

On claims that the man had a pay cut for almost two weeks for absenting from work during the mourning period, Mustapha said this was true but the company had agreed to reimburse him after discussing with the state officials.

He said he was told that the salary cut was made because the man had failed to apply for day off and did not inform his employer when he would return to work.

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