Childcare Matters and How Financial Assistance Increases Mothers’ Participation in Malaysia’s Labour Market

Suhaida Mohd Amin, Zohreh Kashkouli, Zakirah Zaid
1Faculty of Business & Management, UiTM Melaka
2Centre of English Language, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran
3KAFA Integrasi Masjid Al-Falah, USJ 9, Subang Jaya

DOI: https://doi.org/10.60016/majcafe.v32.17


Abstract

Malaysia is one of the ASEAN countries that is lagging behind others in terms of women’s employment level. The main reason for the lack of women in the workforce is childbearing. This study investigates the relationship between childcare matters (availability, education, quality, and cost of childcare) and mothers’ participation in the labour market. Besides, this research examined whether financial assistance relates to mothers’ employment participation. With the purposive sampling technique, the questionnaires were distributed through the online platform. Of the 513 respondents who had completed the survey, 394 were working, and 119 were not working. Besides, 276 (53.8%) respondents send their children to a registered childcare centre and 101 (19.7%) to an unregistered childcare centre. Besides, 136 (26.5%) respondents personally attend to the care of their children; this includes those who alternate child-rearing responsibilities with their partners due to differing work schedules. The binary logistic regression analysis found that childcare availability and childcare cost were significant, while childcare education and childcare quality were not. With positive and significant results, bootstrap analysis established that financial assistance is a mediator between the cost of childcare and a mother’s participation in the labour market. Based on the current situation in Malaysia, where financial assistance for childcare is limited and not comprehensive, this study suggests that the government increase the financial assistance provided. In addition, it is appropriate to conduct a study to provide evidence for the extent to which the existing financial assistance can help increase the participation of mothers in and continue to increase in the labour market.

Keywords:  Childcare, childcare matters, financial assistance, mother’s labour force, mother’s participation