A COST of living allowance (COLA) of RM300, 98 days’ maternity leave, 7 days’ paternity leave, 30 days paid leave for Muslim workers to perform the haj and housing allowances based on the cities are among the sweeping labour reforms sought by the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC).
These are among the proposals the labour centre has submitted to the Government which is in the process of reviewing three key labour laws as promised by Pakatan Harapan in the GE 14 election manifesto.
In what it terms as a bid to bring dignity to the Malaysian workforce which it claims has not been given the rightful recognition, the MTUC has asked the National Labour Action Council to ensure the government and employers give utmost importance to job security as well as decent work.
MTUC secretary-general J. Solomon said labour laws in Malaysia have become archaic since most of these were promulgated in the fifties and sixties.
“The environment has changed over the years, and there is far greater recognition about human dignity, human values, worker rights. It is long overdue for a comprehensive overhaul of various labour laws.
“We thank the human resources minister who has initiated the labour law reform under the new government which MTUC has been championing since 1970s,” he said in a statement.
The proposals include:
- Raise the minimum salary from RM2,000 a month to RM10,000 for workers to be covered under the Employment Act;
- Maternity leave to be raised from 60 days to 98 days, and paternity leave of 7 days;
-Both domestic worker and foreign workers to be covered under the Employment Act;
- A 15-minute break for every two hours of work, to enable workers to do light stretching exercises to improve workers health and reduce medical cost;
-Medical examination, consultation and all treatments to be borne by the employer;
-Where there are more than 100 employees, the employer is to provide a child care centre within the vicinity of the company. Alternatively, pay an allowance of RM 300 as child care subsidy for children aged 7 years and below, up to a maximum of 5 children;
-The employer is to provide a safe and hygienic room for lactating mothers;
-Increased sick leave of 30 days (currently 15) and 60 days hospitalisation irrespective of their years of service. The worker can utilise unused sick leave for hospitalisation in addition to the 60 days hospitalisation;
- A cost of living allowance of RM300 per month;
- Termination benefits shall be a minimum of 2 months for every year of service irrespective of the number of years of service;
-All muslim workers be granted 30 days paid leave to perform haj;
-Housing allowance of RM300 to workers in urban areas or alternatively to provide subsidy on housing loan interest rates for those earning less than RM10,000.
The three laws that will be reviewed are the Employment Act, Industrial Relations Act and Trade Union Act.
On union membership, which stands at only about 6% of the workforce today, MTUC has proposed that it be mandatory for every worker to join a union as every worker has a right to be represented by the union in employment issues.
Solomon said Malaysia’s aim to achieve a high income nation not only needed quality workers but also quality employers as the workers’ wellbeing and dignity are important for increased productivity.
“The MTUC is confident that the government and employers will seriously consider the above proposals. The need to bridge the income gap cannot be prolonged and all stakeholders need to change their mindset in sharing the wealth of the nation equitably as every Malaysian need to contribute towards the progress of the nation.
“Workers too should change their work culture and behaviour in view of the need for Malaysians to grow and to have a share of the fruits of the high income nation,” Solomon said.
He urged Malaysian workers to put all differences aside and be united to pursue this cause for the better future of our family.
“We have waited for 60 years to see this labour law reform, let’s do it together and none should disrupt this golden opportunity that we strongly believe will realise our dream,” he said. – June 9, 2019.
* J. Solomon is Malaysia Trade Union Congress secretary-general.
Source : https://www.themalaysianinsight.com/s/159950