Consultant to Conduct a Comparative Study on the Status of Maternity Protection in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam


Oxfam believes the world is rich. The main cause of poverty is injustice. We want to see a just world with no poverty. We work with all others to achieve this goal.

The regional program "Equitable and Inclusive Social Protection for the Marginalized Informal Workers in ASEAN" of Oxfam builds on the 2014 -2016 program to promote social protection for vulnerable groups in Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos, specifically marginalized workers. The five-year program (2017 – 2021) focuses on increasing effectiveness of national advocacy for more inclusive social protection frameworks. The program enrolls in the thematic "Decent Work" and its strategic objective is "To promote decent work for sustainable, equitable, solidarity and inclusive development" across the region. The program supports marginalized workers to organize and participate in social dialogue to demand for equitable access to social protection systems. The program has an important focus on women and youth – not only because there are agents of change, but also because they represent a significant number of marginalized workers in Mekong region. We are working with 15 partners in 3 countries (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam), with 1 regional network and supported by 2 stakeholders that bring expertise, competences and capacity building Terms of Reference – Consultant to conduct a comparative study on the status of maternity protection in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam


The regional program "Equitable and Inclusive Social Protection for the Marginalized Informal Workers in ASEAN" is looking for a dynamic consultant or a team of consultants to carry out this study. The overall purpose of this consultancy requisition is to support and underpin the project’s influencing strategy to advocate for the maternity protection to be recognized by the government and employers in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, with a comprehensive analysis of the maternity protection policies and provisions, and clear policy recommendations for three countries. The overall focus of this research is social protection measures and provisions directed at marginalized women workers, such as referred to above, before, during and after childbirth, or mothers with infants not yet eligible for pre-school, hence the scope of this research referred to as maternity protection. The specific objectives of this study are classified into three main groups:

Policy Analysis

  •  Build a comparative body of knowledge on policies and legal frameworks that regulate the maternity protection in each country and identify gaps between the existing provisions and international standards considering the ILO Maternity Protection Conventions, ILO recommendations on Maternity Protection and Social Protection, and the ASEAN Declaration on Social Protection. A comparative analysis on maternity, paternity, parental leave, cash and medical benefits for mother and child, employment protection and non-discrimination, breastfeeding practices in the workplace, childcare services. (Reference: ILO conventions, Maternity Protection Resource Package - From Aspiration to Reality for All, Module 12: Assessing national legislation on Maternity Protection at work).
  • Propose possible policy recommendations at national level that can respond to the gaps based on the evidence collected and context-specific policy recommendations for each country.
  • Draft country specific policy briefs directed at national governments and social protection institutions, employers and public to influence policy for better maternity protection provisions.
  • For advocacy purposes at the ASEAN level, propose general recommendations for improving the ASEAN Declaration on Social Protection towards promoting a more gender transformative social protection framework.

Public Spending on Maternity protection

  • Review and analyze the public spending on Maternity Protection, including if possible, the allocation of public funding to maternity leave, cash and benefits for mother and child, early childcare services, etc. compared with standard public spending on the issue, if relevant.

Situation and Challenges of marginalized working women, pregnant or with young children – Vulnerabilities and risks in and outside the Labour market. Gaps between policies and practices

  • Understand how maternity protection is implemented in practice, how much women workers are aware of maternity protection provisions and what are their experiences related to use of maternity protection schemes (actual leave taken, cash benefits received, etc.), what obstacles exist to access maternity protection.
  • Identify challenges that marginalized working women face during pregnancy and beyond childbirth (up to the age that children enter pre-school) (e.g. income insecurity, health, maternity related discrimination, early childcare, unpaid care, etc.).
  • Understand women’s coping strategies during their reproductive years towards securing income (e.g. family planning, delaying marriage and having children, abortion, etc). These strategies are important to understand the impact they might have on women’s reproductive lives.
  • Document the views and recommendations from women in different workplaces (including self-account workers) on what their priorities are regarding maternity protection, how to address these through maternity protection provisions (e.g. improved and expanded benefits and more effective implementation) with a view to inform and influence policy frameworks.
  • Identify and document the challenges and concerns that employers face related to implementation of adequate maternity protection and support workers with young children. Record the recommendations they have to address these issues to improve coverage and effective implementation of maternity protection with a view to inform policy and legal choices.

Methodology proposed

A brief not-exhaustive methodology is proposed below to support applicants with the development of the budget proposal. Note that the methodology should be adapted and revised by the consultant accordingly.

- Desk review - detailed review of relevant literature and existing data and practices, as well as policy, legal and regulatory framework in place in three countries

- Field data collection from stakeholder’s groups, including government ministries, social security institutions, CSOs, workers’ groups in three countries, women workers in different working places, including informal and self-account workers and employers

Terms of Reference – Consultant to conduct a comparative study on the status of maternity protection in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam


The expected results are as follows:

1. An individual report with findings for each country

2. A regional comparative report containing:

           • An executive summary

           • Explanation of the methodology used

           • The body of the document structured around the list of items mentioned in job purpose and responsibilities

3. A presentation of the report to the stakeholders, namely the partners in this program, in order to collect their views and comments which should be integrated in the document if and where appropriate.

4. Draft policy briefs on maternity protection for each country to be used as advocacy tools with their respective governments.

5. A presentation during the launching event of the research at the regional level bringing together various stakeholders from the three countries, potentially in Vietnam in August 2020.


Interested applicants must submit the following documentation in pdf format:

Technical component:

  •  Letter of interest stating relevant experience and qualification
  • CV/company profile with contact details for 3 references
  • Technical proposal

Financial proposal:

  • The financial proposal shall specify a total Net Fee Sum amount in US Dollar including consultancy fees and all associated costs i.e. airfares, travel cost, meal, accommodation, etc.

Only application with all items mentioned above will be considered.

Applying through the recruitment website: