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Singapore: Protecting the Rights of all Pregnant Women Workers

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Women employees in Singapore are being fired from their jobs for being pregnant. FORUM-ASIA's member organisation, Think Centre, outlines several ILO recommendations to protect the rights of all pregnant women.
Adapted from:
(Think Centre/Asiaone) 22 June 2007

A recent case of gender discrimination in the Singaporean workplace was highlighted by FORUM-ASIA’s member organisation, Think Center. Following the unwarranted termination of a female employee due to pregnancy, the plight of pregnant women workers in Singapore is gaining recognition.  

As outlined by Think Center, in the case of Mrs. Valerie Chan, her company used a loophole in policies pertaining to maternity benefits by dismissing her before her sixth month of pregnancy. According to the law, full maternity benefits must be extended to the employee if her position is terminated from the sixth month, provided she has completed six months of service in the company in question.

Mrs. Chan’s case contradicts Singapore’s agenda to increase birth rate and promote work-family harmony. Employers have been unsuccessful in implementing this agenda within their organisational structures. Government incentives and rewards, such as the “baby bonus” of $3000, are not seen as sustainable and adequate pro-family solutions to women who fear losing their jobs if they become pregnant.

Think Center, on their website, have outlined several ILO recommendations which they strongly believe the Singapore government should ratify. Among these, the R191 Maternity Protection Recommendation of 2000 firmly establishes an employment protection and non-discrimination clause, as well as the C183 Maternity Protection Convention of 2000 which protects the rights of all pregnant women.