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

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 centers at the workplace.

New Straits Times (NST) reported it’s executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan saying that the private sector with its limited financial resources finds setting up childcare centers 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 centers 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 percent of 140 participating companies provide, or set up childcare centers at the workplace, with only 1 percent 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 percent.

Shamsuddin said that most childcare centers are currently operated by government-linked companies, adding that operating or establishing childcare centers 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 centers at the workplace, but we’d rather propose for community childcare centers to be set up at their respective residential areas, which can be used by so many employees by different companies,” he was quoted saying.