Protect both employers, workers, Dr Wee tells HR Ministry

KUALA LUMPUR: The Human Resources Ministry needs to review the amendments made to the Employment Act 1955 to ensure employers are not burdened while keeping their businesses afloat, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam).

He said that while the amendments provided maximum protection for the workers, the businesses may face sustainability issues.

“Imagine that the Covid-19 pandemic has just passed but suddenly business operators have to face the implementation of new policies under the amended Act.

“Firstly, the maximum working hours were decreased from 48 hours per week to 40 hours weekly.

"This would affect the base pay and overtime payment would increase,” he said when debating Budget 2023 at the committee stage in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday (March 22).

Dr Wee also said that the operating cost would increase as the amendment also stipulated that employees with a salary range up to RM4,000 were entitled for overtime payment.

He added that the 98-day maternity leave for women would also affect the employability of the gender group as employers would not prefer hiring them.

“These three issues, combined with the increase of the electric tariff for commercial users, would force operators to find ways to adapt.

“It is time for the ministry to look into and review the issues while ensuring harmony between the workers and employers,” he said.

Dr Wee reiterated that while the protection of the workers was taken into account, its effects on employers should also be reconsidered.

“We can continue protecting the workers, there should not be any problem, but how can we ensure employers survive so they can continuously pay their employees,” he added.

The Employment (Amendment) Act was passed in Parliament in March 2022.

The amendments were supposed to come into force on Sept 1, 2022, but were pushed to Jan 1 to ensure that implementation by employers goes smoothly.

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