IPOH | The decision on whether to introduce seven days’ paternity leave in the private sector will be brought before Cabinet in two weeks’ time, says M. Kulasegaran.

The Human Resource Minister said although it was not an easy matter to change, something needed to be done.

He said some had questioned the need for paternity leave since the father has nothing to do with giving birth.

“However as a father, I do understand how difficult it can be for new fathers, especially when the newborns have jaundice.

“Having paternity leave will allow father to take care of their wives during confinement, as well as spending some time with the newborn.

“Things have changed and we can’t compare it with how it was with our parents,” he told reporters after his keynote address at the Perak Startup Festival held in conjunction with Perak International Expo 2019 at Arena Badminton Stadium Perak Saturday (Nov 16).

At present, the civil service provides seven days’ paternity leave, while paternity leave is not obligatory in the private sector.

On Nov 13, an online petition organised by the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) called for compulsory paternity leave in the private sector. The petition garnered nearly 40,000 signatures.

Kulasegaran said the Malaysia Employers Federation (MEF) agreed with the suggestion, but only with certain conditions.

“Discussion between MEF and stakeholders have been made and now it is time to bring it to the Cabinet.

“We hope we will have enough time before the parliament debate in January next year,” he said.