KUALA LUMPUR: The government’s decision to defer the implementation of the amended Employment Act 1955 from Sept 1 to Jan 1 will give employers more time to ensure that the implementation is carried out smoothly and properly.
Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) president Syed Hussain Syed Husman said the implementation of the amended Act had to be done right as it would involve all employees in the private sector, which is estimated to be more than 10 million.
Hence, proper planning of the implementation would take time as the successful execution of any plan was in the details, he said in a statement.
On Aug 26, human resources minister M Saravanan announced that the enforcement of the Employment (Amendment) Act 1955 to provide for shorter working hours had been postponed to Jan 1 from its earlier scheduled date of Sept 1.
Apart from reducing working hours from 48 to 45 hours per week, the amended law will also increase maternity leave from 60 days to 98 days and paternity leave from three days to seven days.
Syed Hussain said the amendments would have huge cost implications up to the tune of RM110 billion per year for businesses, and it would require businesses to have policies and procedural guidelines.
“Industries are facing a shortage of about 1.2 million workers and are awaiting the arrival of about 47,000 new foreign workers,” he said.
He also expressed his appreciation for the proactive measures taken by the ministry to ensure that the application for foreign workers continued to be opened even though the system to process the applications was being revamped.
He said addressing the shortage of manpower had been vital for the recovery of industries and granting them some leeway would help resolve the manpower shortages.
“The decision of the ministry will also boost investors’ confidence, both local and foreign, and maintain competitiveness,” he added.