Employers in Malaysia urged to prioritise employees’ mental health

Leave should be granted to enable employees to deal with the mental stress that they feel at the workplace, says the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC).
By: | November 2, 2022

MTUC president Effendy Abdul Ghani said employers must understand that their employees have other responsibilities outside of work, too. 

“There is a stigma surrounding mental health and psychiatric problems and this should be dealt with immediately. The attending physician who assesses the employee should be the authority to recommend time out to rest,” he said, while highlighting the importance of work-life balance.

“Malaysia should look to countries such as France and Finland that have figured out ways to enable employees to disconnect and rest,” Effendy added.

However, granting leave on company time to deal with a mental problem may not be so cut and dried. While employers agree that poor mental health should be properly dealt with, they prefer a process to monitor the employee’s health. 

Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) president Syed Hussain Syed Husman said poor mental health could trigger human errors that could result in accidents and, by extension, loss in productivity. 

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He said that if an employee has to be let go, the company will lose a skilled employee and replacing such individuals would be difficult and time consuming.  “We believe a holistic approach to mental health at the workplace must be considered at all stages of employment, beginning from the recruitment process,” he said.

If necessary, employees should be given counselling or be put on support programmes and occupational health services, he said, reported FMT.