98 Days Maternity Leave to Be Effective Jan 1 2023 – Minister of Human Resources

By: Michelle Liew

The enforcement of the Employment Act 1955 (Amendment) 2022, which was previously postponed, will be implemented on 1 January 2023, said Minister of Human Resources, V. Sivakumar.

He stated that although there is a request from the industry to extend the delay period, there is also a need to enforce the act.

On 26 August, then Minister of Human Resources Datuk Seri M. Saravanan announced the postponement of the enforcement of the amendment to the Employment Act 1955 to 1 January 2023. It should have come into effect on 1 September last.

The amendment includes the reduction of working hours from 48 hours to 45 hours per week, the addition of maternity leave from 60 days to 98 days, paternity leave increased from three days to seven days and the prohibition of discrimination in employment.

"I think we should continue this matter, because this law has been passed in Parliament and most of the amendments are based on the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention and it (the act) is a guarantee for workers," said Sivakumar.

Sivakumar said that under the amendment of the 1955 Employment Act, it is also mandatory to obtain approval for the employment of foreign workers from the Director General of the Peninsular Malaysia Manpower Department (JTKSM) as stated under Section 60K (4).

According to him, Section 60K(4) acts as an effective initial screening in ensuring that employers who will employ foreign workers in Malaysia have a clean record in terms of compliance with labour standards.

"It is appropriate for employers to obtain approval for the employment of foreign workers from the Director General of JTKSM because the application was rejected earlier following the employer's failure to comply with labour laws," he said.

Meanwhile, Sivakumar said the Ministry of Human Resources (KSM) will continue to collaborate with the Ministry of Home Affairs (KDN) to overcome the issue of the lack of foreign workers in the plantation, service and construction sectors as raised by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in the press conference after the Cabinet meeting.

"We take this matter seriously and will work with the KDN to make sure we have enough manpower in the near future," he said, adding that KSM has given almost 700,000 approvals to bring in foreign workers to Malaysia so far.

In post-Cabinet press conference, Anwar asked the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health and Welfare to speed up approval to bring in foreign workers in the three sectors in particular.

Touching on the foreign worker recruitment system, Sivakumar said that the One Channel System (OCS) which is an integration channel for Malaysia and Indonesia regarding the recruitment of foreign workers to this country, will be placed under KSM.

"Whether OCS under KSM or KDN is not the issue, what is important is the end result, whether we get enough workers or not, that is more important," he said.