PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Employers Federation, in collaboration with the International Labour Organisation (“ILO”), is pleased to introduce three policy templates otherwise known as knowledge tools for businesses to operate within the framework of global safe and fair project. The first one-day workshop on 18th July 2023 at Avante Hotel, Petaling Jaya, was attended by about 90 participants from both manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors. The representative from ILO, Ms Catherine Laws, the Technical Officer for the Migrant Workers Empowerment and Advocacy (MWEA) Project and the Improved Migration Governance (IMG) Project, was present to grace the occasion.
The amended Employment Act 1955 with effect from 1st January 2023, especially its First Schedule that extended the application of the Act to all employees irrespective of wages has far-reaching implications. Among others the amended Employment Act provide the increase of maternity leave to 98 days; the right to 7 days paternity leave for married male employees; the requirement for employers to exhibit conspicuously at the place of employment, a notice to raise awareness on sexual harassment; provision on anti-discrimination; reduction of maximum working hours per week to 45 hours; and the introduction of Flexible Working Arrangement.
Hence, MEF has put in place mechanisms to educate, align, and support its member companies to provide a safe and fair working environment across the industries. One such initiative is the Policy Template on Flexible Work Arrangements which, in general, aims to guide employers on the processes involved in the implementation of Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) at the workplace. FWAs may be adapted based on the nature, conditions and requirements of each employer .
The MEF President Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman, P.J.N, J.P., states that, “according to an ILO report, reduced working hours and more flexible working time arrangements can bring benefits for economies, businesses, and workers, including greater productivity and improved work-life balance. Evidence shows that work–life balance policies provide significant benefits to enterprises, supporting the argument that such policies are a ‘win-win’ for both employers and employees. Employees who enjoy a healthy work-life balance are likely to have a more positive outlook about work, their managers, and colleagues. This balance nurtures all-out employee engagement and productivity, which, consequently, will have a knock-on effect on the overall profitability of the companies.”
“The Policy Template in Eliminating Discrimination in the World of Work will assist companies to create awareness and maintain a world of work safe and free from all forms of discrimination, and ensure that workers feel safe, confident, and comfortable at work. The template ensures that any complaint on violation of such policy will be heard, investigated and resolved appropriately. Affected victims may access to internal grievance mechanisms before seeking remedies from the government.
Datuk Dr Syed Hussain states further that “When employers take initiatives to increase awareness on discrimination in their own place of work, workers would enjoy equality of treatment and opportunity, hence, job satisfaction and commitment to organisation increase, coupled with a renewed sense of belonging and trust to perform better in roles assigned to them. In perspective, a heightened sense of high morale offers a platform for efficiency and productivity that respective businesses desire.
The MEF-ILO collaboration also produced another policy template that provide guidelines to conduct internal investigations on complaints related to violence, harassment and sexual harassment at the workplace. The template assist employers in Malaysia to integrate policies related to violence, harassment and sexual harassment in their respective organisations. “
The Guidelines on violence, harassment and sexual harassment further expands the role of businesses to provide a safe, nurturing, and inclusive environment to achieve equality in treatment, efficiency at work, and productivity in performance. The Guidelines will assist employers, among others, in understanding and implementing investigation processes and procedures, parameters for investigation, preparing a comprehensive investigation report and employers’ duties in taking relevant and appropriate disciplinary actions against the accused employee / offender who committed the act(s) of violence, harassment, including sexual harassment, in their organizations, and most importantly, employers’ duties to provide safe, fair and conducive working environment and culture for all employees across the board, including men and women migrant workers.
“MEF envisions to fill the changing business ecosystem at the global stage and as part and parcel of the need for business sustainability training and education of Malaysian employers, in line with the latest amendments to the Employment Act 1955. Employers must embark on a policy of inclusivity with a zero tolerance to discrimination, therefore building trust between employers and workers for business sustainability” adds Datuk Dr Syed Hussain.
MEF will conduct similar workshops in Johor Bahru (26th July 2023), Penang (3rd August 2023), Kuala Terengganu (8th August 2023) and Kuching (17th August 2023). The ultimate adoption of the three knowledge tools will increase awareness and understanding of the issues and eventually, to apply these tools in the company’s day to day operations. The three knowledge tools are accompanied with the respective animated videos that will be available soon.
“For further information, please contact the MEF Secretariat at 03-7955 7778 or fax 03-7955-9008 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
21 July 2023