CORONAVIRUS | The Human Resources Ministry has released a FAQ regarding workers’ rights throughout the movement control order period until March 31.
This includes the issue of whether workers should be getting full pay during this period, or if employers can force workers to go on unpaid leave.
If my employer forces me to come to work between March 18 and 31, what should I do?’
Workers who serve in essential services must attend work based on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the local Infected Areas) Regulations 2020 under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act.
Employers must take the following steps:
i. Employers must reduce the number of workers to the minimum possible or at least 50 percent of the current amount.
ii. Employers must ensure the limited movement of workers involved.
iii. Employers must provide body temperature screening tools, and take body temperature readings of workers each day.
iv. Workers must adhere to Covid-19 prevention procedures set by the Health Ministry which are issued from time to time.
v. Employers must provide hand sanitisers.
vi. Employers must carry out the necessary cleaning and sanitisation processes.
vii. Companies must ensure that the best social distancing guidelines are provided and implemented.
A report to the nearest police station can be made if employers who are not listed as essential services continue to operate and order workers to be present in the order period.
Under the movement control order, are employers obligated to pay workers salaries throughout the March 18 – 31 period?
Yes, employers are obligated to pay full salaries. Daily wage workers must be paid according to the rate agreed between the employer and the worker in the offer letter/service contract/latest pay raise letter.
For workers whose wages are not fixed, then the daily rate must not be below the minimum wage rate as in the Minimum Wages Order 2020.
If my employer refuses to pay wages in that period, what action can I take?
Workers can file an online complaint through the official Labour Department email.
Please provide complete information regarding the complaint to make things easier for the complaint management by the Labour Department.
Workers can also make complaints by going in person to a nearby Labour Department office after the movement control order period.
However, investigations into the complaint will be done after this order period ends.
As an employer, do I need to pay salaries to workers throughout the order period?
Yes, employers are obligated to pay wages throughout the period because the service contract is still in force.
If the worker is outside the scope of the Employment Act / Labour Ordinance (Sabah Cap 67) / Labour Ordinance (Sarawak Cap 76), do employers need to pay workers’ salaries throughout the order period?
Yes, employers are obligated to pay wages/salaries because this is enshrined in the service contract which was agreed on between the employer and worker.
Can employers force workers to use annual leave or go on unpaid leave throughout the period?
No, because the order was made under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act.
Do I qualify to claim the RM600 incentive that was announced by the government to replace salaries that were supposed to be paid by employers throughout the order period?
The RM600 incentive does not apply to the order period as the minimum duration to qualify is one month.
If the employer is listed as essential services, do I have to pay salaries to workers if the worker refuses to work throughout the movement control order period?
The worker does not need to be paid their salary.
Can employers ask workers to work from home?
Yes, for jobs that are suitable to be done from home.
If the worker works from home, do I need to pay salaries and allowances?
Yes, the workers’ salaries and relevant allowances must be paid.
If employers disobey the movement control order, is it an offence?
Yes, it is a criminal offence under Regulation 7 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the local Infected Areas) Regulations 2020 that can be fined up to RM1,000 and jailed for up to six months, or both.
This list will be updated from time to time.
If there are any questions regarding these issues please contact:
Human Resources Ministry Covid-19 employment monitoring operations room
Peninsula Malaysia Labour Department
Phone lines: 03-8889 2359 / 8886 2409 / 8890 3404
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org