Selangor Journal
Image for illustration purposes only. — Picture via PEXELS

Exco: New policy for working mums enhances social well-being, more flexible hours

By Danial Dzulkifly

SHAH ALAM, June 20 — The social well-being of women, particularly working mothers, will receive more attention under the recently unveiled Selangor Women’s Policy and Action Plan 2024–2026, said the state executive councillor for women’s empowerment and welfare Anfaal Saari.

While the policy’s finer details are near completion, one of the major recommendations is to introduce flexible working hours, especially for working mothers, to promote labour participation among this demographic.

“A flexible working schedule or arrangement incentivises women, especially those with families, to participate in the labour market.

“Overall, a higher participation of women in the labour market will also help drive economic growth for the state and subsequently increase Selangor’s economic output for the country,” she told Selangor Journal when contacted yesterday.

Anfaal said the state is pursuing flexible working hours, including working-from-home arrangements, as implemented during the pandemic.

State executive councillor for women empowerment and welfare Anfaal Saari speaks during her interview with Media Selangor in the State Secretariat Building, Shah Alam, on November 9, 2023. — Picture by NUR ADIBAH AHMAD IZAM/SELANGORKINI

Such working conditions would provide a better work-life balance, especially for mothers who still have to care for their children at home.

She said that Selangor is also looking to introduce childcare leave and an employee’s entitled sick and annual or emergency leave.

“This is because some parents have to take leave to care for their children at home who need supervision.

“Usually, in these cases, parents often have to take their entitled leave to cover for such days or even sick leave, but they are not the ones who are sick yet must be at home to care for their loved ones.

“But this requires a multilateral approach from the state government, agencies, and even discussion with the Federal government to see the policy come into effect,” Anfaal said, adding that such policies involve the Employment Act 1955.

However, the councillor will continue to engage with major stakeholders to continue to improve the action plan.

She acknowledged that in the post-pandemic period, most private companies are more focused on raising their productivity levels to match pre-pandemic levels, often at the cost of their employees’ social well-being.

“With these policies, we hope to help employees have a better work-life balance, which in turn prevents burnouts and ultimately helps their respective companies reach an optimum level of productivity,” Anfaal said.

Another major focus of the action plan is to provide better protection and social welfare to the informal sector.

Taking stay-at-home babysitters as an example, she said the action plan also includes providing these informal workers with upskilling opportunities and pairing them with other state government initiatives to help raise their income and quality of life.

“As just one example of informal workers, they do not have a retirement fund such as EPF (Employees Provident Fund) or social security like Socso (Social Security Organisation).

“By registering them for classes or other initiatives, we at least have the data to help us formulate better ways to support them and safeguard their social welfare,” Anfaal said.

On May 31, the state government launched the action plan to empower women in Selangor.

At the launch ceremony, Menteri Besar Dato’ Seri Amirudin Shari said Selangor is leading the way in implementing the comprehensive action plan that focuses on the group’s well-being and enhances its capabilities.

One of the policy’s primary objectives is to develop sustainable gender equality, with the state setting a benchmark in line with international standards.

He said that during the policy’s drafting, the state administration emphasised uplifting women by honing their leadership skills, among others.

As such, Amirudin said that women’s empowerment should not only be limited to filling the 30 per cent quota target in various programmes and decision-making roles.

 

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