Maternity Leave

Maternity Leave

Majority of the employees have a misunderstanding about the maternity leave.

Employees are not entitled to maternity leave if an employee is not a member of the Social Security Board, it will be considered as unpaid leave.  Such is still the concept among the employees.  In the 1951 prescribed laws on Leaves & Holidays, maternity leave is not included – which is not true.  According to the 1951 laws on Leaves & Holidays, the types of leaves are as follows:

  • Public holidays
  • Earned leave
  • Casual leave
  • Medical leave

There are employees who are familiar only with these initial laws.  In fact, there have been four amendments done for the laws on Leaves & Holidays.  Top HR Solutions has compiled and explained these laws in their book entitled “Compendium of Myanmar Labour Laws”.  

First Amendment

The first amendment was in 1958 and it was called the “Leaves & Holidays Laws Amendment” signed by the then Prime Minister U Win Maung.  “The casual leave cannot be taken more than three consecutive days”; it was for this reason that the law was amended.

Second Amendment

The second amendment was in 1963 and it was called the “Leaves & Holidays Laws of 1963” issued by the then Chairman of the Revolutionary Council.  To add “Peasants’ Day” as a public holiday, it was amended.

Third Amendment

The third amendment was in 2006 and it was called the “Amendment of Leaves & Holidays Laws 6/2006” signed by the then Senior General Than Shwe.  The main purpose was – 

  • For an employee having completed 12 months continuously can take his/her entitled ten days’ earned leave at a stretch
  • For an employee completing less than 20 days’ work [instead of 24 days’ work], a one-day deduction should be made

Fourth Amendment

The Amendment of Leaves & Holidays Laws 1951, Law no.30 of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw.

Many facts were amended; for example the wordings used in the Laws: “Public Holidays” instead of “majority’s holidays”.  

The main purpose of the fourth amendment was:

  • Upon completion of six days’ consecutive work, a one-day rest is to be allowed or it should be considered as a weekend holiday 
  • Employees are entitled to take maternity leave: 6 weeks prior to giving birth and 8 weeks after giving birth.  Maternity leave should be granted and her entitled wage or salary should be paid accordingly.  In addition, with a doctor’s recommendation, she should be allowed to continue taking her maternity leave.

Leaves & Holidays Laws

Rules & Regulations related to leaves & holidays were issued in April 2008.

“For the 14 weeks’ maternity leave [6 weeks prior and 8 weeks after giving birth] entitled wage/salary should be paid”.  This is in accordance with the Amendment of the 1951 Leaves & Holidays Laws wherein it is mentioned that the employer is to grant these leaves.  Therefore, whether employees are members or non-members of the Social Security Board, the 14 weeks’ maternity leave should be granted to employees with their full wage/salary and no deduction should be made.   

Top HR Solutions would like to bring to the attention of employers and entrepreneurs that – it is not sufficient to study the rules & regulations that appear on the websites only but details of the laws, rules & regulations should be thoroughly searched and studied.  Then only appropriate actions can be taken in compliance with the prescribed laws, rules & regulations accordingly.

The Social Security Board for the employees is a kind of health insurance system. The nature of such a system is, to prevent the problems that could occur between the employers and the employees.  Therefore, a monthly contribution is to be paid to the Social Security Board by the employer and the employees/

To elaborate, it means that the employer has to pay the employee’s wage/salary in full amount when she takes she takes her maternity leave.  However, during her absence from work, someone is necessary to cover her duties.  So, the employer is to spend for two persons in such a case and the employer has the funds for this purpose.

For any health matters, employees do need a certain amount of cash (not only for giving birth) for a medical treatment.  Hence, employees contribute 2% and employers also contribute 2% to the Social Security Board as a health insurance.

The employer is also responsible for the Occupational Health hazards of the employees at the workplace.  For any health hazards that occur at the workplace, such as a leg, an arm or any part of the body is fractured accidently, a compensation should be paid by the employer for taking appropriate medical treatment until he/she returns to the normal situation. Therefore, employees contribute 2% and the employers contribute 3% to the Social Security Board. 

Let us now discuss about the maternity leave.

Having contributed to the Social Security Board, when an employee takes a maternity, she gets two types of benefits: “expenses for giving birth” and “permission for maternity leave”.

As I have worked in an international organization, my interpretation for “permission for maternity leave” is – the employer is responsible for 70% of her wage/salary for the days while she is giving birth and “expenses for giving birth” is paid by the insurance company where she has contributed for her health matters. 

The employer has already paid for her maternity leave in accordance with the Amendment of the 1951 Leaves & Holidays Laws.  Since the employee’s wage/salary is paid in full amount for her maternity leave, the contribution made to the Social Security Board by the employer, will be paid to the person(s) who has relieved her duties during her absence.

It should be considered for example, if A goes on maternity leave, B, C & D are relieving the duties of A; but it is not. 

It is not explained precisely in the Laws but there is something mentioned under the article no.121 [on page 312 of the Compendium of the Myanmar Labour Laws]