The Human Resource Ministry has recently come forward to clarify how Malaysian workers are to be treated by their employers should they receive instruction to quarantine because of Covid-19.
According to the Star, the Ministry said that “employers have to provide paid sick leave or hospitalisation leave during the entire treatment period for patients with Covid-19 symptoms”. Adding to this, they also said those who refuse to provide paid sick leave for their workers during the issued quarantine would be committing an offence as specified under Section 60F of the Employment Act.
Each employee is typically given between 14 and 22 sick leave days, not including hospitalisation cases but this is also subject to the number of years of which they’ve worked with the company and their respective employment contracts.
But that’s not all. The ministry also announced that, “for workers, who are given a quarantine period that exceeds their eligible sick leave, employers are encouraged to offer additional allowance to them.”
As for enquiries people have been making about whether bosses can force their employees to take annual leave during quarantine, the HR ministry clearly states, “workers on quarantine, under observation or home surveillance order cannot be forced to use their annual leave for the quarantine period.”
“This is because annual leave is part of the worker’s rights. Employers can order their workers, who are unwell, not to attend work and grant them paid leave.”
But if employers are looking to reduce costs during this period of economic uncertainty, the ministry also has a few suggestions as for how they could follow through to avoid retrenchment measures. These include, placing a limit on overtime hours, reducing numbers of working days or reducing working hours.
“Should there be a need to retrench workers, companies can refer to the guidelines at http://jtksm.mohr.gov.my and provide a 30-day notice to the Labour Department.” Employers are advised to follow these guidelines closely as “those who fail to adhere can be fined up to RM10,000 for each offence.”
Do take note, bosses! No employee should have their rights compromised during this critical season.
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