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Malaysia announces one-year tax exemption for women returning to the workforce

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Starting from 2019, the Malaysian government will provide individual tax exemptions of up to 12 months to women rejoining the workforce, said Human Resources Minister, M Kulasegaran.

In his keynote speech at the Talent Corporation Malaysia’s (TalentCorp) LIFE AT WORK 2018 Awards yesterday (26 November), the minister emphasised that women will play a big part in the Government’s strategy to prepare for the future of work. Hence, Malaysia has a national goal of increasing the national female labour force participation rate from 54.7% (in 2017) to 56.5% by 2020.

In line with that, to encourage women to return to the workforce, the Government will give an individual income tax exemption of up to 12 months to eligible women returnees. The tax break programme will be implemented in 2019 and is to be overseen and managed by government-linked corporation, TalentCorp.

Kulasegaran said: “The key to attracting and keeping these women at work is to offer good Work-Life Practices, including Flexible Working Arrangements and supportive Family-Friendly Practices.”

He added the Government was committed to implement work-life practices throughout the country, adding that the Ministry of Human Resources, together with the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development are working together with the support of TalentCorp, to deliver on this promise.

Hannah Yeoh, deputy minister of Women, Family and Community Development, who was also present at the Awards, urged private sectors to jump on the government-backed initiative by offering employees flexible work arrangements.

“The government has taken the first move, but I look forward to the private sector taking its first steps to offer their employees the long-due support systems, whether it is in the form of childcare centres in the workplace, or family-friendly, work-life practices,” she said.

In addition, Kulasegaran encouraged companies to strongly consider implementing work-life practices as employers will stand to benefit too. Citing a 2016 TalentCorp research, he said 75% of global business reported increased productivity due to the implementation of flexible work arrangements.

ALSO READ: Malaysia’s DPM on meeting the 2030 target for 30% of women in workforce

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