Malaysia approves amendments to Employment Act

The Employment (Amendment) Bill 2021 enhances protection against discrimination, safeguards well-being, and offers flexible work options for workers.
By: | March 23, 2022

Deputy Human Resources Minister Datuk Awang Hashim said, “The proposed amendment involves 46 clauses which include 28 amended clauses, 10 new clauses and six repealed clauses. The main objective of the Employment (Amendment) Bill 2021 is to increase and improve the protection and welfare of workers in the country.”

The amended Act will allow staff to apply for flexible working arrangements from their employers depending on the suitability of the working hours, working days or workplace.

In addition, maternity leave for employees will be raised from 60 to 98 days. The amended Act 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, willful breach of the employment contract or closure of business. For new fathers, a seven-day paid paternity leave will be granted for each confinement, up to a total of five confinements, irrespective of the number of spouses.

READ: Malaysia to raise minimum wage to RM1,500 on May 1

Under a new section, Section 90B, an employer who threatens, deceives or forces employees to carry out any activity, service or work and prevents the employee from leaving the place where such activity, service or work is performed is committing an offence of forced labour under the act. Such employers may be fined up to RM100,000 (US$23,787) or imprisoned for up to two years or both, according to New Straits Times.