While I was folding my telekung after Maghrib prayers at campus, I overheard a conversation between two ladies. Miss A is my classmate, she just gave birth late last year. Miss B is someone I don’t know, she is heavily pregnant.
Miss A: Pregnant anak keberapa?
Miss B: Keenam.
Miss A: Bila due? Ke bila2 masa?
Miss B: Tak lama lagi dah ni. Tu dok risau ni...
Miss A: Kenapa?
Miss B: Akak baru tukar kerja. Baru start 2 bulan. Tak boleh ambik maternity leave. Kena ambik unpaid.
Miss A: Then resign je laa. Belum confirm kan?
Miss B: Ye laa.. kalau resign pun sama juga, tak dapat duit. Habis siapa nak bayar rumah? Kereta?
The surau went silent. Indeed it was a tough call for Miss B.
Miss B: Lepas tu pulak, hari tu husband akak bagitau company dia cuma cover maternity sampai anak 5 je. Lepas tu kena bayar sendiri. Aduh, pening kepala. Kena fikir duit nak bersalin lagi...
That’s a normal policy in corporate sector. Normally, companies with maternity benefits only pay maternity bills up to your fifth child. There are not many of such companies, usually only the bigger and more established ones. Most companies I know don’t offer that, all you get is maternity leave. And the same rule applies, you are granted maternity leave only up to your fifth child.
So what if you get pregnant for the sixth time?
Get ready to pay for your own hospital bills. Like a colleague of mine once said, “Memang laa company tak cover. Itu bukan sakit. Itu saja cari sakit!” And she just gave birth to her 8th and 9th babies (twin girls) last year. Fortunately her husband’s company covers maternity cost for the wife, with probably no limit in number of child. How lucky!
And get ready to take unpaid leave throughout your confinement period. Therefore, only your husband will be earning salaries for that 2 or 3 months, you will earn nothing. Half of the household income is gone. And you both have one extra mouth to feed.
Miss A: Takpelah, adalah rezeki tu nanti.
Easy to say. Rezeki tak datang bergolek. Perlu berusaha. Miss B’s worries are valid. The coming several months will be tough for her, unless she gets herself well prepared, both financially and emotionally. She will have to start saving money, perhaps get some side income too. While doing so, she will need to be mentally strong. Her existing 5 kids may not be happy with the sudden reduction in lifestyle just because mum and dad need to save cash for the new baby. And she may not be able to work much after all, as she’s already entering her final months before delivery.
Moral of the story?
Get a tabung ayam the moment you see double lines on the pee stick!