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The Ministry of Human Resources Malaysia has issued “Soalan Lazim (FAQs) Mengenai Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan Kementerian Sumber Manusia” on 19 March 2020 in relation to the Movement Control Order and Employment. The followings are the English translation of the said FAQs:
 
1. If my employer forces me to come to work between 18 March to 31 March, what should I do?
Workers who serve in essential services as stated in the Schedule of the Regulations must attend work based on the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the local Infected Areas) Regulations 2020 (the “Regulations”) under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act.

Employers must take the following steps:
  1. Employers must reduce the number of workers to the minimum possible or at least 50 percent of the current amount.
  2. Employers must ensure the limited movement of workers involved.
  3. Employers must provide body temperature screening tools, and take body temperature readings of workers each day.
  4. Workers must adhere to Covid-19 prevention procedures set by the Health Ministry which are issued from time to time.
  5. Employers must provide hand sanitisers.
  6. Employers must carry out the necessary cleaning and sanitisation processes
  7. Employers must provide hand sanitisers.
  8. Employers must carry out the necessary cleaning and sanitisation processes.
  9. Companies must ensure that the best social distancing guidelines are provided and implemented.

A report to the nearest police station can be made if employers who are not listed as essential services continue to operate and order workers to be present in the order period.
 
2. Under the movement control order, are employers obligated to pay workers their salaries throughout the 18 March to 31 March period?
Yes, employers are obligated to pay full salaries. Daily wage workers must be paid according to the rate agreed between the employer and the worker in the offer letter/service contract/latest pay increment letter.

For workers whose wages are not fixed, then the daily rate must not be below the minimum wage rate as per the Minimum Wages Order 2020.

 
3. If my employer refuses to pay wages in that period, what action can I take?
Workers can file an online complaint through the official Labour Department email. Please provide complete information regarding the complaint for easier management by the Labour Department.

Workers can also make complaints by going in person to a nearby Labour Department office after the movement control order period. However, investigations into the complaint will be done after this order period ends.

 
4. As an employer, do I need to pay salaries to workers throughout the order period?
Yes, employers are obligated to pay wages throughout the period because the service contract is still in force.
 
5. If the worker is outside the scope of the Employment Act/Labour Ordinance (Sabah Cap 67) / Labour Ordinance (Sarawak Cap 76), do employers need to pay workers' salaries throughout the order period?
Yes, employers are obligated to pay wages/salaries because this is stipulated in the service contract which was agreed on between the employer and worker.
 
6. Can employers force workers to use annual leave or go on unpaid leave throughout the period?
No, because the order was made under the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases Act.
 
7. Do I qualify to claim the RM600 incentive that was announced by the government to replace salaries that were supposed to be paid by employers throughout the order period?
The RM600 incentive does not apply to the order period as the minimum duration to qualify is one month.
 
8. If the employer is listed as essential services, do I have to pay salaries to workers if the worker REFUSES to work throughout the movement control order period?
The worker does not need to be paid their salary.
 
9. Can employers ask workers to work from home?
Yes, for jobs that are suitable to be done from home.
 
10. If the worker works from home, do I need to pay salaries and allowances?
Yes, the workers' salaries and relevant allowances must be paid.
 
11. If employers disobey the movement control order, is it an offence?
Yes, it is a criminal offence under Regulation 7 of the Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (Measures within the local Infected Areas) Regulations 2020 that can be fined up to RM1,000 and jailed for up to six months, or both.

For more insight into this area of law, please contact our Partners in Employment & Industrial Relations Practice Group:
P Jayasingam
Wong Keat Ching
Thavaselvi Pararajasingam