Budget 2020 has been announced, with initiatives tabled to benefit women.
A key highlight is the wage and hiring incentives for women returning to the workforce. This will encourage and help full-time homemakers find employment, should they wish to do so.
To ease Malaysians’ financial burden while encouraging the habit of saving, Private Retirement Schemes will also allow early withdrawals for healthcare and housing.
“… increasing the flexibility for Private Retirement Scheme (PRS) early withdrawals without penalties for housing and medical treatment expenses, (will draw it) closer to the level of flexibility that Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) savings offer,” says Hann Liew, CEO of RinggitPlus.
For women who wish to be mothers but need help in doing so, fertility treatments will become a new category of EPF withdrawals. Such treatments will also be eligible for income tax relief, under medical treatments for serious illnesses.
Budget 2020 also made known the government’s plan to increase paid maternity leave to 90 days. As expected, this news has been met with mixed reactions, though many mothers are receptive of the idea. Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister, Hannah Yeoh, explained in a Tweet that the purpose of a longer maternity leave is to allow for greater bonding between the new mum and baby.