Maternity leave likely to be extended by eight days

Maternity leave likely to be extended by eight days

A very young Brazil fan opens his eyes in the maternity ward at Phyathai Sriracha Hospital in Chon Buri on June 21. (Photo courtesy of Phyathai Sriracha Hospital)
A very young Brazil fan opens his eyes in the maternity ward at Phyathai Sriracha Hospital in Chon Buri on June 21. (Photo courtesy of Phyathai Sriracha Hospital)

Thai women will likely be able to take eight more maternity leave days, bringing the total to 98 a year, as authorities are seeking to reconcile related local laws and international obligations.

The proposed 98 days will include the leave for prenatal examinations.

Anantchai Uthaipattanacheep, director-general of the Labour Protection and Welfare Department, said his office would push for an amendment to the labour protection law so leave days taken for prenatal examinations would be included in maternity leave.

“It will be in line with the Maternity Protection Convention [No. 183] of the UN International Labour Organization on maternity protection rights, which stipulates a government take care of workers during their pregnancies, deliveries and postnatal care and allow new mothers to take not less than 14 weeks off,” he said.

Thailand became an ILO member in 1919 but has yet to ratify Convention No.183, according to ILO data.

The law is being reviewed by the Council of State, after which it will be sent to the National Legislative Assembly for enactment.

At present, a worker is entitled to take maternity leave up to 90 days, including weekends and holidays. Half of those days are paid leave.

On a proposal for promoting a proper environment for breastfeeding, Mr Anantchai said his department had constantly encouraged employers to set up a breastfeeding corner even though it was not legally required.

“It’s still on a voluntary basis depending on the willingness, readiness and affordability of employers. Enforcing it requires a study and hearings from all sides,” he added. 


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