Workers should not expect benefits to stay competitive

Malaysia tells its workers that they should not expect benefits such as flexible work arrangements and childcare leave.
By: | September 10, 2019

While companies across the Organisation for Economic and Cooperative Development  are wooing and retaining talent through benefits and perks, companies in Malaysia believe they do not need to dangle such carrots. Workers in Malaysia should not expect benefits such as flexible work arrangements, childcare services and long parental leave, the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has stated.

According to MEF executive director Shamsuddin Bardan, this is because Malaysian companies are not in the position to offer such incentives. He said workers should be realistic and settle mid-way across many of these benefit criteria.

About 64% of respondents to a Randstad survey cited salary and benefits as the most important criteria for choosing a new company, while 50% said a healthy work-life balance was the top priority for them. 

But Shamsuddin, claimed that this was not feasible in the challenging economic environment. He said while a balance between work and life should be provided, it should not come at a cost to employers.

He said a proposed amendment to include flexible work arrangements in the Employment Act would be difficult to execute, as employees can lodge complaints with the Labour Department when the request is not granted.

In a separate case, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said there was no need to increase the current retirement age in Malaysia from 60 to 65. He said that a majority of individuals in that age bracket may also be struggling with health problems and unable to work at maximum efficiency.