In a very timely announcement on Father’s Day yesterday, CIMB Bank revealed that male employees are now entitled to one month of paid paternity leave.
While Malaysia’s Employment Act 1955 ensures female employees get their minimum of 60 days of paid maternity leave after giving birth, there are actually no laws regulating paternity leave for fathers. As a result, the duration of paternity leave varies with employers, with some companies offering as little as a single day of paid leave to new fathers. Banks like HSBC and Standard Chartered offer two weeks of paternity leave, which is great.
With the physical exertion of childbirth and the risk of post-partum depression, the days and weeks after birth can be the most challenging for new mothers. Having a partner around at this time can be crucial.
When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced he would be taking two months of paternity leave, it sparked a conversation about the importance of men being around after the birth of their children.
And indeed, multiple studies have shown that paternity leave is good for children, families, and women’s careers. Fathers who take paternity leave tend to be more involved in their children’s lives down the line, which means happier and healthier children. These fathers also tend to share child-rearing duties with their wives, which allows women to go back to work.
With this in mind, CIMB increased their paid paternity leave from just three consecutive working days to a full month. This move, they explained, will enable fathers to spend more time with their newborns, and share parental responsibilities in welcoming their new baby into the world. (Whether men actually take the leave however, is a different question entirely.)
Kudos to you, CIMB! Now if only more companies would follow suit.