Littler Global Guide - Malaysia - Q2 2022

Browse through brief employment and labor law updates from around the globe. Contact a Littler attorney for more information or view our global locations.

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Changes Under New Employment Legislation

New Legislation Enacted

Authors: Selvamalar Alagaratnam, Partner, and Teng Wei Hun, Associate – Skrine

The Employment (Amendment) Act 2021 (the Act) was passed on March 30, 2022, and will come into effect on September 1, 2022. The changes include redefining an “apprentice contract” by limiting it to a minimum duration of six months and a maximum duration of 24 months; reducing maximum working hours per week from 48 to 45 hours; increasing paid maternity leave period from 60 to 98 days; allowing paternity leave of seven days; imposing the requirement on employers to obtain prior approval from Director General of Labor before employing a foreign employee; empowering the Director General of Labor to inquire into and decide matters relating to discrimination in employment; providing a procedure for applications of flexible working arrangement by an employee and increasing the fine which the employer is liable to pay relating to sexual harassment complaints from RM10,000 to RM50,000.

The scope of application of the Employment Act post its amendment is as yet unknown as the Ministerial Order that will define the scope will only be made public on September 1, 2022.

Federal Court Rules that Industrial Court is Proper Forum to Decide on Issue of Restrictive Immunity

Precedential Decision by Judiciary or Regulatory Agency

Authors: Selvamalar Alagaratnam, Partner, and Teng Wei Hun, Associate – Skrine

The United States Government (U.S. Government) sought a declaration that it and its embassy are immune from the jurisdiction of the Industrial Court after an unjust dismissal claim was brought by its employee, a security guard at its Malaysian embassy. The High Court ruled that the U.S. Government and its embassy were protected by immunity and prohibited the Industrial Court from adjudicating the employee’s claim. The Court of Appeal overturned the High Court’s decision and ordered the Industrial Court to proceed to hear the dispute.

The Court of Appeal held that in the case of restrictive immunity, it is not all acts of a sovereign foreign state that are immune from legal action but only those acts that are primarily and peculiarly governmental or diplomatic in nature and character. Actions of a foreign State that are purely of a commercial or private law nature are not immune from legal challenge by those parties affected by it. The U.S. Government filed a further appeal to the Federal Court but was unsuccessful and the Federal Court ordered that the claim should be decided by the Industrial Court as whether restrictive sovereign immunity applied to the U.S. Government depends on the determination and finding of facts of the nature, duties, and job scope of the employee by way of trial.

Relaxation of COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures

New Regulation or Official Guidance

Authors: Selvamalar Alagaratnam, Partner, and Teng Wei Hun, Associate – Skrine

Vaccination is no longer mandatory. The requirement of vaccination before being allowed to enter premises (such as shops and restaurants) has also been abolished. An individual can now enter premises regardless of status of vaccination except those with “High Risk” status in the MySejahtera application or those under Home Surveillance Order. Masks are mandatory while indoors only and optional when outdoors but encouraged in crowded places. Physical distancing is no longer required but encouraged when not wearing mask. COVID-19 positive individuals are required to quarantine for seven days. However, they have the option of undergoing a supervised COVID-19 test on the fourth day and if they test negative, they may be released from quarantine.

Information contained in this publication is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.