Malaysia priorities safety of employees working from home

Malaysia is making amendments to the Employment Act 1955 on flexible work to ensure employees can work safely from home.
By: | November 1, 2021

The amendments will cover employers’ responsibility for the safety and welfare of staff who are working from home (WFH).

“WFH is now the norm in the global workforce. The ministry has included amendments to the Employment Act 1955 on flexible work (method) that would be tabled for the second reading in the meeting to be held between December 14 and 16,” said human resources minister Datuk Seri M Saravanan.

The scope of employers’ responsibilities would be limited to work-related activities within their control and subjected to the nature of work, he in his winding-up speech during the debate on the Occupational Safety and Health (Amendment) Bill 2020.

Separately, the minister said the government would not condone employers who failed to provide a safe and conducive living environment to their workers, which he described as “modern-day slavery”.

The amendments to the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act 1994 aim to extend the application of the law to all workplaces, as well as increasing penalties for errant employers who fail to ensure their employees’ safety, health and welfare at the workplace.

Proposed amendments include an increased fines from RM50,000 (US$12,039) to RM500,000 (US$120,388) under Section 19 for offences such as failure of employers to formulate safety and health policies.

READ: Employers in Malaysia required to bear full cost of hiring foreign workers

The amendment under Section 23 of the act will see an increase in penalty from RM20,000 (US$4,816) to RM200,000 (US$48,155) for violations under Sections 21 and 22 relating to the manufacturer’s duty on plant and materials at the workplace.

The Dewan Rakyat later approved the Bill through a voice vote, according to New Straits Times.