Malaysia urged to tighten enforcement of Employment Act changes

How are some employers working around new rules?

Malaysia urged to tighten enforcement of Employment Act changes

Malaysia's Ministry of Human Resources is being asked to carry out inspections of employers amid reports that some are flouting newly implemented changes to the Employment Act.

The ministry should conduct periodical checks on employers and carry out strong action against those who are not complying to the recent changes in the legislation, according to Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general Kamarul Baharin Mansor.

Malaysia's recent amendment to the Employment Act 1995 brings about changes to working hours, leave entitlements, flexible working arrangements, among others.

The new legislation took effect January 1.

Employers not paying breaks

One of the most prominent changes involves shortening the required weekly work hours for employees from 48 to 45 hours.

Employers, however, have found a way to get around this change, said Mansor.

"Employers are trying to utilise other methods to ensure that employees spend at least 48 hours each week at the office by not paying them for their break hours," Mansor said as quoted by New Straits Times.

The situation is causing "anger" among employees, according to the MTUC secretary-general, because their period of stay in the workplace remains the same.

"The purpose of reducing working hours is to help employees achieve work-life balance," he said. "Workers should be allowed to spend time with their families with shorter working hours, but regrettably, employers utilise different methods to make sure employees remain in the company for 48 hours."

Some employers have also reportedly changed their terms of employment without informing or seeking the consent of employees, according to Mansor.

The MTUC president said these complaints come from employees and trade unions, just a week after the Employment (Amendment) Act 2022 came into effect.

Other amendments to the Employment Act include the introduction of paid paternity leave for male employees, expansion of maternity leave, and the application of flexible work arrangements for employees.

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