Measures to protect employees must be upheld as there is no reason for employers not to abide the law

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has brushed off the notion that longer working hours equate to increase in productivity among workers in a company.

MTUC president Abdul Halim Mansor said working hours as stated in the Employment Act 1955 only refer to the hours that have been set for a company to generate productivity for a business.

“Section 60A of the Employment Act states that unless under certain exceptions, an employee shall not be required under his contract of service to work more than 48 hours a week.

“If in the case the company needs to alter working hours to maximize their company’s productivity, it needs to write-in to the labour department head of director requesting for the hours’ change, but not exceeding 48 hours,” he told Berita Daily.

However Halim said under the Act, a mutual agreement may be set between the employee and the company to exceed eight hours working in a day but must not to exceed nine hours in any day and 48 hours in a week.

“A company can make their own productivity plans but must be in the confinement of the Employment Act and not solely on cutting the company’s operational cost,” he said.

Recently Malay daily Berita Harian reported founder and chief operating officer of Arba Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd Ammar Rosliza as saying that he valued the work stress issue and only allowed his startup company of 28 employees to work for six hours per day.

This is not to overstress his workers and to enable them to get by the rush hour traffic and spend more time with their family, he was reported as saying.

Measure to help workers

Halim also said measures continuing to protect employees must always be taken seriously by the government.

“Such as the implementation of the Employment Insurance Scheme (EIS) that can help especially retrenched workers, to get them back on their feet,” he said.

EIS is a financial scheme aimed at helping employees who have lost their job, and it is managed by Social Security Organisation (Socso). This scheme is meant to enable retrenched workers to gain monetary funds that would help them get back on their feet for up to six months.

The EIS will function similarly to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), where the contribution will go into a pooled fund and then the fund will be invested.

Under the EIS, employers and employees will contribute 0.2 percent each of an employee’s salary, which will go towards an accumulated fund, where retrenched workers could claim financial assistance from.

The scheme will start collecting from January 2018 onwards, involving 430,000 employers and 6.6 million employees

Extend EIS to foreign workers too

Meanwhile, Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) urged the government to extend the EIS to foreign workers as they have the rights of an employee too much like the local workers.

Speaking to Berita Daily, PSM secretary-general A Sivarajan said EIS can help foreign workers to at least survive if their company goes bust, or if they have been retrenched before their contract agreement ends.

“Most of them have contracts up to two years but what happens when they get laid off before their contract ends?

“Though EIS scheme covers Malaysian employees, PSM also requests that the policy would be extended to the migrant workers too,” he said.

“If in any case that a company goes bust or winds up before the contracted term ends, rights of these migrant workers can be protected. And they would receive the balance of their total contractual wages,” he said.

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