GEORGE TOWN: Employees, especially those in the hospitality and tourism sector, are bearing the brunt of the drastic drop in business, with them being asked to take unpaid leave or given a pay cut prior to the movement control order (MCO).
A 27-year-old event management executive, who wished to remain anonymous, said she was given a 70% pay cut for working from home.
“Initially, my company suggested a 40% pay cut before the MCO was announced.
“However, when the MCO was extended, there was another 30% pay cut from the revised salary, ” she said.
A worker at a tourist attraction, who wanted to be known as Marina, said her company issued a notice last month that it would launch a “temporary lay-off exercise” during which they would get half a month’s pay.
She said the company claimed that it had the right to do so under the Termination and Lay-Off Benefits Regulation 1980, Clause 5(1) (a) and (b), adding, however, that she did not know what this meant.
According to this clause, employees whose remuneration depends on them being provided with the work they are supposed to do, are deemed as laid-off if the employer does not provide such work for at least 12 working days over four consecutive weeks.
The employees are not entitled to remuneration for those periods without work.
Marina said because she worked in a tourist attraction, it was completely closed with no work to do from home.
“My colleagues and I are confused. The government stressed many times that employees must be paid their full salaries yet our company claimed that it had the legal right to do so, ” she said, adding that some of her colleagues were planning to lodge police reports or contact the Human Resources Ministry.
Meanwhile, some employers are doing their best to take care of their workers’ welfare.
Escape Theme Park chief executive officer Sim Choo Kheng said his company is paying the workers’ salaries according to the usual wages.
“We are applying the RM600 subsidy from the government for our staff.
“If the MCO is extended further, we might have to review our stand as the financial implication is huge, ” he said.
Teddyville Museum director Tony Ch’ng said precautions had been taken in spending and budgeting since the beginning of the year.
“We are lucky to be able to operate as we only have eight full-time management and operational staff.
“Some full-time staff volunteered to take their unpaid leave. Most staff also suggested to the company management to reduce their salary and offered to continue working from home on social media marketing, ” he said.
Ch’ng said as an SME business owner, his loss was tremendous as his staff heavily depended on commissions and the revenue generated.
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