Trip back from hometowns, even on day off, considered 'travelling to work', rules Appeals Court

PETALING JAYA: Employees travelling from their hometowns back to their workplaces in another town are considered “travelling to work” and eligible for Social Security Organisation (Socso) claims, the Court of Appeal has declared.

In a landmark decision on Monday (Sept 19), a three-member panel of judges ruled that the injuries suffered by N. Sathiaseelan were considered an employment injury under Section 24(1)(a) of the Socso Act 1969.

Sathiaseelan met with an accident when he was travelling to Kulim, Kedah where he works from his hometown in Ipoh, Perak during his day off on Oct 16, 2016.

The panel consisted of Justices Lee Swee Seng, Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera and Datuk Mohd Nazlan Mohd Ghazali.

News portal Free Malaysia Today reported that the judges unanimously agreed that the Socso Act should be interpreted expansively and liberally in the context of corporate social responsibility, to allow employees the right to travel to their workplace on weekends from their hometowns.

Sathiaseelan had attempted to apply for temporary disability claims from Socso but this was rejected by the Socso board and later dismissed by the Ipoh High Court.

"The Socso board had asserted that Sathiaseelan's claims were invalid since the incident occurred during his day off, with the High Court ruling similarly that he was not travelling under instruction from his employers and purely for personal reasons," Sathiaseelan's counsel T. Manoharan said.

Sathiaseelan then filed an appeal to the appellate court, which delivered its decision.

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