5 Labour Laws Every Malaysian Worker Should Know

Entering the working industry as a fresh graduate is daunting enough – first, you have to search for the perfect position or forget that, anything with decent pay. Then it’s your first day of work and already you feel exploited.

But fear not, we’ve searched up and summarized basic Malaysian labour laws through the Employment Act 1995 so you won’t feel exploited any longer and be in the know of your working rights.

1. Sick Leaves

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Ah, the first day of your job and you’re already seeking out a Medical Certificate (MC) leave? Most employers are vague about how many MCs an employee can take in a working year. Also due to employees’ unawareness of Malaysia’s sick leaves laws, employers can set any number of days that an employee is allowed to take MCs which leaves little room to take a day off even if snot is literally running down your chin. Well, you better not use them all up just yet as Section60F of the Employment Act states:

i. For service of fewer than two years, you’re allowed a number of 14 days of M.Cs

ii. 18 days for those between two to five years of service;

iii. And 22 days in a calendar year for those in service for more than five years.

So before you take a whole two weeks off for a vacation, be aware of which hospitals and clinics are eligible to get your MCs from. Trust us, you’re not the first employee ever to take “an MC leave” just because. So some big companies have a list of medical centres that they will only accept MCs from.

Most importantly, always inform your employers of your absence, medical reasons or otherwise. Failure to do so will result in termination. Okay, most rational employers will hear your out first but a majority of companies have a strict ‘no show employee’ policy so please be a responsible worker.

2. Working Hours and Overtime

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If you have any working friends, you’ll know the dreaded letters of “O.T”. and as a recently employed individual, you need to equip yourself with the working hours law of Malaysia so you won’t find yourself a zombie that lives only in the office.

Section 60A (1)(iii) and (3) of the Employment Act states all employees should abide by the contract set by the employers provided:

i.  Employees are not required to work more than nine hours a day or 48 hours a week (unless required)

ii. Employees are paid no less than 1.5 of their hourly salary if worked more as stated in their contract

Although the famous phrase to describe working hours is “9 to 5”, don’t go accusing your employers just yet as laws have stated that the maximum working hours is nine hours or less. Just check your contract first before doing anything haste – like a lawsuit.

3. Probationary Period

If this is your first proper job, this will be the first thing you go through: the probationary period. It’s basically a period of time where your employer determines if you’re the right fit for the job in ALL aspects. While many employees pass the probation period, just keep in mind that employers have the right to let you go. The duration of probation periods typically lasts 3 – 6 months.

However, if you think your employer has no justified reason to dismiss you after the probationary period, you have the right to bring it up in court. Just ensure your ex-employer really did not brief you about your dismissal first.

4. Wage & Salary Payment

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Obviously the main reason you’ve got a job is to earn a salary by the end of the month. And that’s when you’ll expect your employers to pay you too. However, to be on the safe side, it’s best to know the way your salary will be paid and when you should legally receive it.

Your salary should be received in either check or banked in form and no later than seven days after your usual payday (last day or the first day of the month).

 So if for whatever reason your salary comes in late on a regular basis, you have the right to bring it up to the management.

Just make sure it exceeds more than 7 days.

5. Annual Leave

The other reason (apart from pay) that differentiates an employee from a slave. All companies must give their employees yearly vacation even if they’ve worked for less than two years. BUT just before you go booking a month-long vacation, ensure you have annual leave to apply for first.

Section 60E of the Employment Act allows employees the right to a minimum of:

i. Eight (8) days of annual leave for service under two years in a company

ii. Twelve (12) days of annual leave for service of two to five years in a company

iii. Sixteen (16) days of annual leave for service of more than five years in a company

There you have it, 5 Malaysian labour laws that will surely help you navigate the working world without fear of exploitation. The Employment Act has many other sections that will surely be beneficial for your newly employed self. But we’ve just listed out the ones that are most important to a working newbie.

*Do note the Employment Act 1995 only applies to employees whose salaries accumulate to a sum less than RM2000 or to certain occupations that salaries accumulate more than RM2000.

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