As China begins its journey on the road to recovery, many other nations are beginning to feel the full sting of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Europe in particular has become a new hotbed for infection. Recently, Malaysia saw an alarmingly high rise in confirmed cases in a short period of time.
The Human Resources Ministry has urged workers and employers to apply the sections contained in the Employment Act 1955 following the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
The ministry in a statement said the applicable sections are Section 60F and Section 60E (1B).
As part of section 60F of the Employment Act 1955, employees are required to obtain medical examinations promptly by a medical officer on employer’s expenditure.
“The duration of paid sick leave (without hospitalisation) is also provided in addition to the employer having to provide paid sick leave or hospitalisation for employees confirmed to have Covid-19 infection.
“For workers who are given a quarantine order beyond the sick leave or hospitalisation eligibility period, employers are encouraged to provide additional remuneration to workers for the purpose of maintaining harmonious relations between the employee and the employer,“ the statement said in reference to the provisions of the act.
On the other hand, Section 60E (1B) of the Employment Act 1955 refers to employees being given the quarantine or home surveillance orders. Said employees on quarantine order may be allowed to work from home; however, employers should not force these employees to utilise their annual leave entitlement for this quarantine period.
Under the same section, it is also stated that employers may take reasonable steps to avoid the termination of employment as recommended in the Code of Conduct for Industrial Harmony.
Should employers face a business slowdown to an extent where action must be taken to reduce the workforce, retrenchment remains an option. However, employers are still required to refer to termination guidelines available at the JTKSM website to avoid any unlawful or unjustified terminations.