Raising a child during the first few months isn’t as easy as most people think. While the non-parent may be imagining cute adorable bonding moments all the time, new moms have to deal with a whole ton of added responsibilities. So you can’t expect a mom to be dealing with office stress, and the pressure of raising a child right. That’s why moms need maternity leave. However, some moms may have questions on maternity leave, and how to apply for it. We’re here to answer your question.
Applying for Maternity Leave
If you’re thinking that you have to get back to work straight after giving birth, stop right there! You have rights as a mother. If you have worked for your employer for at least 90 days before starting your maternity leave, you’re entitled to maternity leave. You can get at least 60 consecutive days off at full pay. Don’t worry about getting fired or receiving a notice of termination during this period, as it’s against the law. The 1955 Employment Act has got you covered.
Civil servants get 90 days of maternity leave, with 300 days total throughout the tenure of service. This means that a mother can adjust her maternity leaves to save some days for the next child.
Other than these basic maternity leave regulations, some companies may offer extended maternity leaves with terms. Do check your offer letter and terms and employment just to be sure.
How Do I Apply for Maternity Leave?
You will have to notify your boss of your pregnancy at least four months from your due date. While you may think that a huge baby bump would be enough to tell the world you’re pregnant, you’ll still need to do the black and white. Send a notice to HR, and your immediate superior. And, at least two months before your expected confinement, you will have to let your company know when you’re starting your maternity leave. And of course, don’t forget to check your contract. Some companies may have more leeway in arranging for leaves, while others have strict rules.
Of course, one musn’t forget the father of the child; he is useful for the hard labour at home after all. While the laws in Malaysia don’t specify paternity leave, most companies will have some form of paternity leave available, subject to some conditions.
How do I prepare my child for when I get back to work?
“I want to return from maternity leave with peace of mind.” Well, you’re not alone. Most mothers might be concerned about leaving their precious little one at home. However, as you should know, your child will have to learn to live independantly some day, and now is a great place to start. Instead of spending your last days of maternity leave fretting about how your child is going to survive you, you can prepare your child for the first stage of separation with these steps.
Preparing your child for separation
When it’s finally time to return to work from maternity leave, it’s important that you:
- Trust the person caring for your child.
- Accept that someone other than you can look after your child and lavish him with love.
- Openly ask the person looking after your child questions to dismiss any concerns you have.
Let toys be a source of learning
Exploration is the stimulus for learning. Children who are encouraged at an early age become active explorers and learners throughout their growing years. When your child finds it a struggle to achieve a desired effect with a toy, he realises that there is perhaps a problem to be solved and that he has to practice and acquire the skills necessary to resolve the problem. Such skill development occurs when young children play with their toys. Moments like these encourage imagination that helps fire a child’s creativity. Even more importantly, your return from maternity leave will require that your child rely on play items for fun and entertainment.
Family Bonding Nurtures Happy Families
Your return to work from maternity leave doesn’t have to stop you from spending time with family. Create the musketeer "all for one and one for all" concept similar to the famous novel “The Three Musketeers”. Our goal as parents is to get that message across that a family that plays together, stays together. And playing in this context literally means doing things together. Once you start a "tradition", your children will always look forward to it as they grow up.
No matter how young your child is, he will feel reassured when you explain what is happening. Talking about this separation in your own words and from your heart will help your child and you to cope with this adjustment.
Here’s where you’ll find everything you need to make the best of those first 1,000 days of parenthood… TOGETHER.
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