Malaysia is probably one of the most generous countries when it comes to public holidays. I mean, we have three main races after all! So we MUST celebrate ALL the festivities! The next public holiday we’ll have is on 8th June, which is the Agong’s Birthday.
As fun as holidays are, we also have colleagues who work through the holidays to help keep the company running. So… what can you do if your boss insists you work on 8th June? Let’s refer to the Malaysian Employment Act 1955.
According to Act 265 of the Employment Act 1955, declared public holidays are a paid holiday by default. That means your boss is required by law to pay you! Employees are entitled to 11 public holidays per calendar year and five of them must be:
- National Day
- Birthday of Yang di-Pertuan Agong
- Birthday of the Ruler or the Yang di-Pertua Negeri of the state where the employee works
- Labour Day / Worker’s Day
- Malaysia day
For the other six days, your employers can choose from the list of gazetted holidays. Section 60D of Act 265 states that employers will need to list out the public holidays that they will be observing before the calendar year starts. For example, a company releases the list of holidays they will be observing in 2020 in 2019.
There are also instances when there are “sudden” public holidays such as when Pakatan Harapan won the election. However, if the employer does not want to observe that day as a public holiday then they can give a replacement holiday to their staff.
Double or triple pays?
When your boss insists that you work on a paid holiday, you are entitled to double pay. If you are required to stay overtime, you are entitled to triple pay!
What if your boss doesn’t give you that double or triple pay?
For the Agong’s birthday public holiday, the Ministry of Human Resources has said that the holiday cannot be replaced on other days. Anyone who works on that day must be paid a public holiday rate in accordance with Act 265.
If your boss does not comply with the following, then it would contravene Section 60D (3).
Section 99A of the Employment Act states that if someone commits an offence or contravenes under the act, they will be slapped with a fine not exceeding RM10,000 upon conviction.
For further assistance, visit your nearest labour office under the Department of Labour Peninsular Malaysia, email [email protected] or call 03-80008000 for inquiries. Don’t forget to bring your payslip as proof!
Note: Only certain groups of people are protected under the Malaysian Employment Act 1955
- Employees whose monthly salary does not exceed RM2,000
- Employees who are engaged in manual labour, regardless of salary
- Employees engaged in the operation or maintenance of mechanically propelled vehicle
- Employees who supervise or oversees other employees engaged in manual labour
- Employees engaged in any capacity on a vessel (subject to certain other conditions)
- Domestic servants
The Employment Act is also only applicable to Peninsular Malaysia as East Malaysia has its own enactments. If you’re not protected by the Employment Act 1955 (meaning you’re not in the groups listed), then you will have to fall back on your employment contract. Be sure to really check any contracts at all before you sign them!
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