Govt is all for making workplaces safer for employees

Shared responsibility: Azmin believes all precautions must be taken to ensure workers’ safety at the workplace.

PETALING JAYA: All efforts will be made to assist employers who only allow vaccinated employees on site as long as the intent is to make workplaces safer and better, says International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Azmin Ali.

“Non-vaccinated staff may (cause) a spike that would lead to operations closing down, loss of income, and workers being laid off.

“As much as possible, the International Trade and Industry Ministry wants to work with private employers not just to preserve existing employment, but also to create new jobs,” said the Senior Minister.

“Employees are the backbone of the economy and must be protected at all costs.”

Azmin said that the government introduced the Public-Private Partnership Covid-19 Industry Immunisation Programme (Pikas) because it realised that many companies need to operate but were wary of Covid-19.

“Employees have no choice but to be exposed at the workplace during the movement control order because essential goods and services sectors (under manufacturing) need to operate to minimise the disruption of supply to the rakyat.

“However, because the current government policy on vaccination is voluntary, there is an urgent need to speed up the process so that more economic sectors can open up.

“Hence, the government and private employers have come together under Pikas to safeguard their employees by getting them all vaccinated.

“Since its launch on June 12, the total number of employees vaccinated under Pikas as at July 26 is 348,852 (first dose at least). Of these, 35,790 have received their second dose,” he added.

Azmin said many private companies had been very supportive of Pikas.

“Pikas has been very successful with full support and cooperation from companies. We urge more to come on board as I believe they want their employees to be protected against infections in the workplace,” he added.

Separately, the Human Resources Ministry said that it was not against labour laws to have a company policy demanding all staff present in the workplace be fully vaccinated.

The ministry’s Labour Department chief Asri Ab Rahman said that as long as the effort was to make the workplace safer and better for employees, such rulings are permissible but must be done through the right procedure.

“Companies that want to make it a ruling that only staff who are vaccinated can be present at the workplace should make it a company policy to ensure that this is applicable across the board, among all employees.

“For those companies where workers are part of a union, we advise them to work with the unions with such a ruling so as to ensure a better and safer workplace for all.

“What is important in applying such policies in the workplace is that there must be sufficient notice and information before enforcing the ruling.

“On the part of the Human Resources Ministry, we welcome all efforts by employers who strive to make their workplaces better and safer for their employees,” said Asri when contacted.

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