Not enough govt incentive to encourage employers to set up childcare centres, says MEF

Shamsuddin said that operating or establishing childcare centres was not an affordable pursuit for the private sector. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli
Shamsuddin said that operating or establishing childcare centres was not an affordable pursuit for the private sector. — Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 28 — The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) attributed the lack of government incentives as the reason the private sector is dragging its feet in setting up childcare centres at the workplace.

New Straits Times (NST) reported its executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan saying that the private sector with its limited financial resources finds setting up childcare centres in private offices a costly affair — even as its own survey showed “family responsibilities” to be the biggest reason for work absenteeism.

"In the 1990s, there were more than 100 childcare centres in private sector offices.

“The number now is less than 30.

"The ability of the private sector to provide this is challenged, and they are not being given allowances in big numbers and not given any kind of incentive by the government,” he was quoted saying.

NST reported that MEF's Man-Days Lost and Absenteeism Survey 2019 revealed that 4 per cent of 140 participating companies provide, or set up childcare centres at the workplace, with only 1 per cent providing childcare subsidies or allowances.

It added that the survey also found “family responsibilities” to be the most common reason given by employees for work absenteeism at 94.2 per cent.

Shamsuddin said that most childcare centres are currently operated by government-linked companies, adding that operating or establishing childcare centres was not an affordable pursuit for the private sector.

“So, that’s why as MEF, we said we shouldn’t be pushing for child care centres at the workplace, but we’d rather propose for community childcare centres to be set up at their respective residential areas, which can be used by so many employees by different companies," he was quoted saying.

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