The implementation of the amendments to the Employment Act 1955 will defer from 1 September 2022 to 1 January 2023, says Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan.
According to The Star, the decision to postpone the implementation was made after a discussion with stakeholders who wanted to delay it.
“The stakeholders and industry players unanimously asked for the delay as they are in the economic recovery stage.”
“The matter was also brought to the Cabinet on Friday morning (26 August), and they have agreed to the postponement,” he was quoted as saying.
The key amendments to the Act includes the extension of maternity leave allocations from 60 days to 98 days, reduced weekly working hours from 48 to 45 hours, and a 7-day paternity leave for married male employees.
Saravanan explains that the industries want a delay in these amendments as the reduced working hours will affect productivity and output.
He added that industries need more time to recover from the impact of Covid-19, including the shortage of foreign workers.
Saravanan also said the issues on the foreign workers have now been resolved with source countries, and that the delay in the workers coming in was due to the process involved after a 3-year hiatus.
However, he said employers are required to implement the reduced working hours “by hook or crook” when it comes to January 2023.
The amendments to the Employment Act 1955 were passed during the Parliament sitting in March.
Other amendments include allowing employees to work flexible hours where they get to choose the location, time and days of work.
It also sees higher penalties for offences under the act, with maximum fine penalties raised from RM10,000 to RM50,000, while the existing punishment of a fine originally capped at RM50,000 will be further increased to RM100,000.
The amended law also prohibits the termination of female employees who are pregnant or suffering from illness arising out of her pregnancy, except on grounds relating to misconduct, wilful breach of the employment contract or closure of business.