Right under maternity protection


On March 2006, the government decided domestic flight services and air services to be operate dependently under Fly Asian Xpress (subsidiary of Air Asia) which began in August 2006. However, on April 2007 the Government directs to return the services to Malaysia Airlines or its subsidiary. Thus, MASwings a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines took over the operations and an exclusive interior begins October 1, 2007.

This study conducted in order to gain MASwings Sdn. Bhd. cabin crew views of causes and effects on their contract of service terms (Article 6 and 7) that seems to violate their right under maternity protection. This exploratory study is expected to be useful information to the employees to protect their rights and awareness to the management to amend this term.

1.1 Background to the Study

MASWings Sdn. Bhd. is a regional airline operating the Rural Air Services (RAS) in East Malaysia. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Malaysian national carrier (Malaysia Airline System Berhad). Previously its head office was located in Miri, Sarawak. However on 1st October 2010, it’s headquarter have shift to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

The female cabin crew of Malaysia Airlines ( MAS) has appealed to the government since 2003 to intervene and advise MAS to end gender based discriminatory practices and recognize both female and male right to equality and justice. Unfortunately the Collective Agreement between Malaysia Airlines and Malaysia Airlines System Employee Union provides for employment conditions that are below the acceptable standards as set by the Employment Act, 1955 (Chong Eng, 2005). Moreover, MASwings Sdn. Bhd. also practices almost the same term on maternity protection under their contract of service. MASwings female cabin crew is only entitled to have not more than two surviving children under their contract of services ( Article 6 and 7 ). In the event that :-

- She becomes pregnant after having two surviving children,

- Pregnant in her first two years in service with the Company or,

- Pregnant within three years after her previous pregnancy,

she shall resign from the Company, failing to do so, Company reserves the right to terminate her services.

It is undoubtedly violates the employees’ rights and indicates the company non-compliance to Section 83 Sabah Labor Ordinance, which states:

Every female employee shall be entitled to maternity leave for a period of not less than sixty consecutive days (also referred to in this Chapter as the "eligible period") in respect of each confinement and, subject to this Chapter, she shall be entitled to receive from her employer a maternity allowance to be calculated or prescribed as provided in subsection (2) in respect of the eligible period.

Where a female employee is entitled to maternity leave under subsection (1) but is not entitled to receive maternity allowance from her employer for the eligible period under subsection (5), or because she has not fulfilled the conditions set out in subsection (6), she may, with the consent of the employer, commence work at any time during the eligible period if she has been certified fit to resume work by a registered medical practitioner.

Notwithstanding subsection (1), a female employee shall not be entitled to any maternity allowance if at the time of her confinement she has five or more surviving children.

(6) A female employee shall be entitled to receive maternity allowance for the eligible period from her employer if—

(a) she has been employed by the employer at any time in the four months immediately before her confinement; and

(b) she has been employed by the employer for a period of, or periods amounting in the aggregate to, not less than ninety days during the nine months immediately before her confinement.

Based on this ordinance, the termination of female cabin crew shall not be on the ground of having a third child reflect the policy coerces women to fit into a particular pattern of reproduction. This directly violates on women's right to decide and to make their own judgment without employer restraint in terms of the number, spacing and timing of their children. Additionally, there is no specific clause for male cabin crew to be grant paternity leave benefit in any Malaysian Labour act. However by providing this advantage to the contract of services, it may gain their motivation towards the job.

1.2 Problem Statement

In the argument where a married female cabin crew of MASwings become pregnant less than three years of her previous pregnancy, she only has two options either to resign from her work as a cabin crew for good or to the sinful abortions. This not only violates their rights as employees, but also humanity. Additionally, it could become a fear to the cabin crew to start a stable family. Furthermore, it possibly will emotionally or psychologically provide negative influence to their life and in a long term, it may have an effect on their work performance.

On 2001, Y.B. Dato' Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil as the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, entrusted with the responsibility to promote and raise public perception on the importance of the role of women and family institution in contributing towards the developmental agenda of the nation. However, with this term on cabin crew contract of service, it is clearly jeopardized a female right for being a mother and employees at the same time.

A clear example of violation for being pregnant among cabin crew can be referred to Beatrice a/p A.T. Fernandez case against Malaysia Airlines. Ms. Beatrice began working as a cabin crew for Malaysia Airlines (MAS) in 1980. Ms. Fernandez became pregnant after eleven years into her service at MAS, and after promotion to the position of leading stewardess. A 1988 collective agreement that governed the terms and conditions of her service required a “female stewardess to resign on becoming pregnant and allowed the company to terminate her services should she not resign". She was refused to resign then the company terminate her services in 1991. She afterwards appealed the case to Malaysian Appeal Court on the ground of female discrimination among employees. Unfortunately, her case was dismissed and her termination is legally authorized.

In addition, notwithstanding to Sabah Labour Ordinance Section 83 (Maternity Protection) subsection (5), means by “only when a woman has five or more surviving children that she will not be entitled to any maternity allowance". Hence, every employer in Sabah should grant this provision.

1.3 Research Objectives

To identify the causes of this term to be tolerated by the cabin crews.

To identify the effect of this term to work and family life as a cabin crew.

To identify recommendation for the management to overcome the deficiency in this term.

1.4 Research Questions

What are the causes of this term to be tolerated by the cabin crew even though it is seems to violate their rights?

What are the impacts of this term to the work and life balanced becoming a cabin crew?

What recommendation for the management to overcome the deficiency in this term?

1.5 Theoretical Framework

Not restricted the number of child entitlement.



(Dependent Variable)


(Independent Variables)

Provide paternity leave.

Review clause of termination if a cabin crew become pregnant in her first two years service.

Review clause of termination if a cabin crew pregnant before three years after her previous pregnancy.

In order to develop employees’ satisfaction and their employment security, MASWings management should increase number of child entitlement clause. As stated in Sabah Labour Ordinance, female employees entitle up to 5 surviving children 60days paid leave entitlement. Thus, employer should not restricted the amount of children of its employees should have.

Second independent variable focus on male perspective, although paternity leave is not stated in any provision of Malaysian acts, however by providing this advantage, it surely increases employees’ satisfaction towards the company and they are more motivated in conducting their work tasks. An employee’s should have a clear right to assist his wife during her the pre-natal period also in order to spend a quality time to bond with his new born child.

Third and forth independent variables are to review the clause of termination if cabin crew become pregnant in her two years of service or before three years after her previous pregnancy to be reviewed respectively. The termination is conduct by the company in event that she failed to voluntarily resign. As consequences due to this biased term, many have lost employment and they are consistently fears for being terminated once faced with pregnancy or start a stable family issue. Although MASwings Sdn. Bhd. is only a subsidiary company of Malaysia Airlines System Berhad, but they are also representing Malaysia in promoting Malaysian hospitality. In order to fulfil this complimentary towards its customers, the company must first take a good care of their employees’ beneficiary.

1.6 Significant of Study

The followings section will discussed about how this study will be contributed to the researcher, to the body of knowledge, to the company and also to the employees.

1.6.1 Contribution to the researcher

Independently self govern in conducting the research study of what have been theoretically lectures in class. In addition, researcher is practicing several theory based courses such as Organizational Behaviour, Business Communication, Research Methodology (taken upon Diploma and in Bachelor level) and Report Writing. In reality, it is enormously useful to exercise the course to actual research study.

1.6.2 Role to the Body of Knowledge

It is crucial to conduct a research in order to identify the causes of this term to be tolerated by the cabin crews. Moreover, this study is to identify the effect of this term to work and life balance as a cabin crew and determine the recommendation for the management to overcome the deficiency in this term. Optimistically, this study will be utilized by other people in the prospect for their references.

1.6.3 Contribution to the Organization

Moreover, this research finding assist the organization to have better maternity protection term applied in their contract of services in order to aligned with organization’s motto which is “Service from the Heart with Care". Also, to point out the essential in subsequent the government acts. In this study scope is Sabah Labour Ordinance.

1.6.4 Contribution to the Employees

The rationale of the study was deliberate is to gain MASwings Sdn. Bhd. cabin crew views of causes and effects on their contract of service terms (Article 6 and 7) that violate their right under maternity protection. This exploratory study is expected to be useful information to enhanced awareness of this terms and views to the management to revise this term.

1.7 Scope of the Study

Two scopes are used in order to accomplish this study.

Demographic scope

The study is conducted within the area of Malaysia Airlines Administration Building and Flight Operations Department (Kota Kinabalu International Airport) Sabah.

Geographical scope

The focus group of respondent is specifically to MASwings Sdn. Bhd. cabin crew whom are based in Kota Kinabalu.

1.8 Limitation of the Study

Within the research progression, researcher was faced with several limitations.

1.8.1 Gaining the respondents cooperation’s.

It is difficult and tedious task. It requires high level of patient and timely. Due to cabin crew nature of job description, they are always on board, researcher have to follow their travel schedule. In order to do this, researcher has been temporarily transfer from Human Capital Division located at MAS administration building to Flight Operations Department of MASwings at Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

1.8.2 Time constraint

Self time management issues to write proposals according to the given guidelines and deadline, note that researcher is in the industrial training course on workday’s basis. Researcher only has time at night on workdays and on weekends to mainly focus also contributing efforts to the study.

1.8.3 Lack of information sources

Secondary supporting data for researcher reviews are inflexible to obtain. Researcher depends mainly on internet source rather than printed foundation. As for Sabah Labour Ordinance provision book, the guidelines is only could be bought at Jabatan Tenaga Kerja at KWSP building.

1.9 Definition of Terms

The followings are several terminologies used throughout this study:-

Cabin crew

Cabin is an enclosed space commonly on a ship or an aircraft according to Wikipedia dictionary. Another source ( Merriam-webster Dictionary) state that cabin is stand for the passenger or cargo compartment on a vehicle (such as airplane or automobile). A crew is a body or a class of people who work at a common activity, generally in a structured or hierarchical organization. Furthermore, it focuses to the people who fly or operate an aircraft or spacecraft. Basically, cabin crew in this study is purposeful to airplane crew. Cabin crew is also known as flight attendance, steward (male) or stewardess (female).

Maternity protection

Maternity is pertaining to, or for the period in which a woman is pregnant or has just given birth to a child. While as protection is the act of protecting or the state of being protected; preservation from injury or harm. Maternity protection in this study focus in following the guidelines written on Sabah Labour Ordinance that differ with terms in cabin crew MASWings contract of services.


According to Wikipedia Encyclopaedia (2011), a SPSS stand for Statistical Package for the Social Sciences was released in its first version in 1968 after being developed by Norman H. Nie and C. Hadlai Hull. Originally it is invented to solve the problem of analyzing data for Nie’s dissertation. SPSS soon became a sensation among other social scientists and researchers, and in the process, revolutionized empirical social science. Sociologist Barry Wellman expressed that SPSS is most influential sociological development in recent decades.

Paternity leave

Paternity refers to the state of being or becoming a father to his child. Paternity leave is for helping childcare following the birth of baby. It is also for father to spend some quality bonding time with his new born child and helping their wives during her post-natal period.

Sabah Labour Ordinance

According to A. Vijay Chandran (2008), Labour Ordinance (Sabah Cap 67) was originally a state legislation. It was declared a federal Legislation in 1965. (LN. 199/1965). This Ordinance covers both employer and manual employee without wage limitation also those non manual employee who receive wages not exceeding RM 2,500 per month. Among Sabah Labour Ordinance objectives are :-

To ensure any agreement or employment contract between employer and employee is valid in accordance with provisions of the legislation.

To provide for terms and minimum employment conditions.

To provide for minimum benefits for employees.

MASWings Sdn. Bhd.

From MASWings Sdn. Bhd. official website, MASwings is Malaysia’s first commuter airline and officially launched on 1 October 2007. It caters to the air travel needs of Sarawak and Sabah's travelling population by providing affordable fares, convenient schedule and connections within the two states in the Malaysian Borneo. Being a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines, MASwings takes advantage of its link with Malaysia's national carrier to provide Sabah and Sarawak with greater connectivity to the global network already serviced by Malaysia Airlines.



2.0 Introduction

According to a female transportation worker in Zimbabwe, “They (employer) no longer pay those on maternity leave. Once you become pregnant, you ought to know that you cannot return to work. That’s the end. Many of us know that by falling pregnant, we’re placing ourselves on automatic dismissal". Apart from this, Dolly Tan served Malaysia Airlines (MAS) as cabin crew for 24 years also felt the same. Although she is entitled for paid maternity leave, it is difficult for her to back in shape after the pregnancy given only a nick period of one to two month. Without further argue, she voluntary resign from the company before being terminated.

Moreover, a former cabin crew of Singapore Airlines (SIA) says that the flight crew all know what the deal is from the start, “so most of us resign in good faith". This depressing situation also faced in Belgium, it is enforced rigorously for pregnant women forbid to fly including both cabin crew and passenger. It is imposed due to health indemnity where as a miscarriage occurs result from flying would be cost a fortune. From employer vision, this may be the rationale of safety and health issues that they are concerned with the cabin crew. However, it is not an employer right to restrict benefits and guidelines that provide by the government for employees on their personal life.

Employees satisfaction

Employee satisfaction may lead to increase in their work performance. The study conducted by Cole brothers (Larry E. & Michael S.) suggested that organizational productivity and efficiency is achieved through employee satisfaction and attention to employees’ physical as well as socio-emotional need. In an article written by Walter Gibbs (2011), Norway keenly promote to expanding their ‘father quota’ parental leave program. It is to encourage fathers to stay home with their new born baby for at least 10 weeks at full pay. Both parents in this country are entitled to get an automatic 2 weeks leave at full pay. The employees also offered to have 46 weeks leave with full pay or 56 weeks leave at 80% of their full pay.

Moreover, to ensure employees’ satisfactions to retain within the job and in order to guarantee every employee contribute their best efforts to perform their task, the company must provide the better terms for its employee without any discriminatory practices. The importance of how employees’ satisfaction could preserve company positive performance can be articulated from Southwest Airlines founder, Herb Kelleher (2005) statement “There is one key to profitability and stability during either boom or bust economy; employee morale". No one is closer to the company customers’ than its employees.

Employment security

Female discrimination in the transport industry in general is not a recent phenomenon. In 1999, a survey conduct by associated unions of International Transportation workers Federation Women’s Department reported that 16% were not entitled to maternity leave with cash benefits. Another 30% respondents stated that pregnant employees did not have the right to guaranteed job transfers without loss of earnings. Moreover, 14% had restrictions imposed upon them after returning from maternity leave.

Furthermore, a Singaporean Gigi Ang are working as a flight attendant with British Airways (BA) are enjoyed being pregnant. With BA, she is entitled to have 12 to 14 weeks of paid maternity leave. She also has the option to take six month of unpaid leave or working in ground position with the company. Without worries, she knew that her job would still be waiting for her. Soon after the maternity leave is over, she went on refresher courses provided by the company and then returned to skies. She also did not feel any negative pressure in order to choose between career and family.

Flight Attendance Association of Australia (FAAA) had bargained the paternity issue with Virgin Blue Airlines on behalf of their cabin crew and has come out with preferable terms in collective agreement. Male cabin crew are entitled to have 2 weeks paid paternity leave. This shows that union had influential power that may shift the negative terms in their service contract. Also at the same time, it assures to secure their employment. Job security is all about seeking a sense of stability in personal development, career progression and overall career development during the course of employment at a particular organization, (Pillab Dutta, 2009).

2.3 Conclusion

In Sooksan Kantabutra study (2006), “It Takes Two to Tango", he emphasis that customers and employees satisfaction are depending on leader and follower factors. From researcher perception, the research conducted is to promote awareness for both employees to stand out their right and for employer to follow the guidelines states by the government. Furthermore, by granting paternity leave, increase in child entitlement by following Sabah Labour Ordinance guidelines and review the termination clause in maternity issues, cabin crew of MASWings Sdn. Bhd. may increase their satisfaction toward the work and to secure their source of income.



3.0 Introduction

The purpose of this study is to determine the causes of this term to be tolerate by the cabin crews, identifying the effect of this term to work and life balance as a cabin crew as well to point out recommendation for the management to overcome the deficiency in this term.

In particular, the followings are to describes the techniques and methods used to achieve the objective of this research which include the research design, sampling frame, population, data collection procedures, instrument, validity of instrument and data analysis. This study is an exploratory research.

3.1 Research Design

According to Uma Sekaran ( 2003 ), exploratory research is undertaken when not much is known about the situation at hand, or no information is available on how similar problems or research issues have been solved in the past. Furthermore, it is also necessary when some facts are known, but more information is needed for developing a viable theoretical framework.

3.2 Sampling Frame

The sampling frame has been drawn from the list of MASwings Sdn. Bhd. employees. However, only employees based in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah are taken into consideration. The list of the employees was obtained from Human Capital Division, MASwings Sdn. Bhd.

3.3 Population

The population for the study comprised of all cabin crews who are working in MASwings Sdn. Bhd., which based in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. The total populations of MASwings Sdn. Bhd. Kota Kinabalu are 511. Meanwhile, the total number of cabin crew is 48. Apart from that, the researcher had decided to use 100% the number of cabin crew which is 48 respondents. It is comprise 20 male and 28 female. This method is also known as census. “Whereas the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population “(Robert W. Greene, 2003).

3.4 Instrument

In conducting this research, the researchers had been used questionnaire as a main instrument to collect data from respondents. Personally administered questionnaire also economical, respondent anonymity and response rate is highly guaranteed. Furthermore, by self-administering the questionnaire, a respondent could liberally express their views on the questions. It is also the best way to gather data from a potentially large number of respondents that allow statistical analysis of the results. Claimed to be invented by Sir Francis Galton, questionnaire is develop based on research objectives and research questions for the purpose of gathering information from respondents. Also, the questionnaire must within the research title scope.

The questionnaire categorized by four main sections which is section A, B, C and D. Section A covers about demographic background which contain items such as gender, age, marital status, education level and years work in that organization. Section B focused on causes of the terms ( Article 6 and 7 ) to be tolerated by the cabin crews . Moreover, in Section C questions are focus in collects data on the effect of this term to their work and family life. Meanwhile, Section D discussed about the cabin crew satisfaction level and recommendations to the management.

3.5 Validity of Instrument

The validation of the instrument was carry out to certify the questionnaire distributed were relevant to the respondents. The practice goes through two phases which is face and content validity. Face validity determined by the MASwings Sdn. Bhd. cabin crews to pinpoint any inaccuracy and doubt. Content validity is to determine the ambiguity or superfluous question and whether the question asked is understood by the respondents. Moreover, content validity administered to ensure the constructive and considerable results to be obtained. Therefore the content validity was exercised to evaluate how well the item represents the issues of study.

These two phases are carried out by pilot testing method. Pilot study is a small scale preliminary study performs prior to the actual research, in order to check the probability or to develop the design of the research. It is usually carried out on members of the relevant population, but not on those who will form part of the final sample. This is because it may influence the later behavior of research subjects, if they have already been involved in the research (Haralambos and Holborn, 2000). Thus, researcher will conduct the testing to part time cabin crew in training.

3.6 Data Collection Procedures

Data or information can be collected in a variety of ways in different setting and from two different sources such as face to face interview, and through questionnaire. In this study, the data collected by researcher using questionnaire. The questionnaire will be distributed to MASwings Sdn. Bhd. cabin crews that are based in Kota Kinabalu. The researchers also personally administered the respondents to answer the questionnaire to ensure the questionnaire is returned on within a week from day of the distribution.

3.7 Data Analysis

Every verdict of the questionnaire retort was examined for comprehensiveness prior to enter into the data analysis system. Afterwards, all the information was analyzed by using Statistical Package for the Social Science (SPSS). The collected information was analyzed for descriptive statistics such as using mean, median, mode, frequency and percentage. All the descriptive statistics were depend on the level of measurement such as nominal, ordinal, interval and ratio.