Covid-19 and the Movement Restriction Order – How Does This Affect Your Employees?
Q: Can employers offer unpaid leave to their employees during the period of the Movement Restriction Order (“Order”)?
A: No, employers may not compel their employees to take unpaid leave during the quarantine period.
Q: Can employers ask their employees to utilise their annual leave during the period of the Order?
A: No, employers may not compel their employees to utilise their paid annual leave entitlements during the quarantine period.
Q: Can employers lower employees’ wages during the period of the Order?
A: Employers must pay full wages pursuant to the employment agreement. For employees who do not earn a fixed daily wage, employers are required to ensure that their wages do not fall below the minimum wage as outlined in the Minimum Wages Order 2020.
Q: Can employers remove or suspend benefits (which are not required by law) provided to employees during the period of the Order?
A: This depends on the terms of the employment agreement and whether the same permits the removal or suspension of these benefits, failing which such removal or suspension may only be performed by mutual agreement between the employer and employee.
Q: Can employers suspend the employees’ employment temporarily with or without compensation during the period of the Order?
A: No. In any event, a suspension of employment or retrenchment should only be exercised as a last resort and where there are no other alternatives but to take these steps against its employees, failing which this decision by the employer could be subject to challenge by its employees.
Q: Are employers entitled to any advantages for offering unpaid leave, part-time work, partial work and work from home during the period of the Order?
Q: Are employees entitled to the RM600 monthly aid offered by the Government during the period of the Order?
A: No, as the economic stimulus package offering a RM600 monthly aid for workers on no-pay leave, for a period of six months for those with an income not exceeding RM4,000 per month is subject to the condition that the minimum period for entitlement to the same is one (1) month. The period of the Order is less than one (1) month.
Q: Assuming the business operates normally, what should employers do if an employee is suspected to be tested positive with the coronavirus?
A: Employers ought to ask the said employee and those who work closely with said employee to be home-quarantined for 14 days and during the quarantine period, the employee’s entitlements ought not to be affected.
Q: Assuming the business operates normally, can employees refuse to report to work for fear of contraction of the coronavirus?
A: Employees may only do so if reporting to work puts employees in imminent danger, conditions for which the employer must ascertain.
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