KUALA LUMPUR: The Employment Insurance System (EIS) Bill was passed in the Dewan Rakyat at midnight, after five hours of debate.
The new law allows for the creation of an insurance scheme for laid off employees to claim a portion of the insured salary for a period of between three and six months.
Retrenched workers will also be entitled to early re-employment allowance, reduced income allowance, and training allowance.
The insurance scheme, to be administered by Socso, covers staff involved in a voluntary or mandatory separation scheme, or those made redundant due to business restructuring or closure.
It also offers protection for those whose resignation is tantamount to constructive dismissal or due to threats to the insured or his/her family, including sexual harassment.
Most Opposition MPs had voiced their support for the Bill, but some posed conditions in doing so.
Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin (PKR - Bukit Katil) said he would support the Bill only if the Government also contributed to the scheme.
Meanwhile, Charles Santiago (DAP - Klang) asked to double the six-month maximum period for salary insurance to better protect employees.
Datuk Hasbullah Osman (BN - Gerik) raised concerns on overlap in functions between the EIS and the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF).
In his winding up speech, Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot explained that although the Government will not contribute to the EIS, it has allocated RM120mil towards the scheme.
To another question by Santiago, Riot said even jobless workers, aged 40 to 50, will be given appropriate training through the system so they can be matched with other jobs.
He also explained that this training will not be combined with the present HRDF.