Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri M.Saravanan said that the Department of Industrial Relations (JPPM) had received more cases of work recovery representation in 2020.
The minister said that the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) since March 2020 forced many companies to lay off their workers, which caused an increase in work recovery representation cases.
In 2020, the department received 9,142 cases compared to 7,179 in 2019. So far, JPPM has managed to resolve 6,273 cases out of the total cases reported.
In 3,684 cases, employers managed to resolve via peaceful negotiations. Meanwhile, the department solved 2,150 cases through ex gratia payment involving RM50,874,675.24, and 196 workers were successfully restored to their original positions.
For 2018 and 2019, the minister said ex gratia payment amounted to RM22,372, 549.14 and RM47,279,565.39, respectively.
He added that JPPM also took the initiative to accept complaints online to assist employees during the MCO period. JPPM held peaceful negotiation meetings online with both employer and employees' consent.
"Employer, employees and unions are encouraged to resolve the case through peaceful negotiation as it can save time and cost, as well as sustaining harmonious and conducive industrial relations," Saravanan said.
Dismissal representation under Section 20 (1) of the Industrial Relations Act 1967
A worker who is dismissed or considers their dismissal to be without just cause or excuse may file a written representation to the Director-General of Industrial Relations.
The worker must file the representation in writing to the JPPM nearest to the place of employment from which they were dismissed within 60 days of the dismissal. They may also file it during the period of notice of the dismissal.
The steps of managing representation cases under Section 20 of the Industrial Relations Act 1967
In 2021, Malaysia welcomes the amendments to the Industrial Relations Act 1967 ("IRA 1967"), which effectively came into force on 1 January 2021. These amendments made several changes to the representation cases.
JPPM may decide the date for the conciliation. The department will invite both the employer and worker to seek a resolution. If the claimant fails to attend any of the meetings without a reasonable excuse, JPPM will deem the representation withdrawn and close the case.
The latest amendment allows the employer or employee to be represented by any person they choose, excluding lawyers, during the conciliation process.
2. Automatic referral of wrongful dismissal cases to the Industrial Court
The new laws enable cases that are not resolved through conciliation at JPPM to be referred directly to the Industrial Court without consultation with the Ministry of Human Resources.
The Director-General of Industrial Relations can refer wrongful dismissal representation directly to the Industrial Court if they are satisfied that there is no likelihood of the representations being settled via conciliation.
The Industrial Court settles wrongful dismissal cases.
3. Arbitration by the Industrial Court
The Industrial Court shall adjudicate the matter referred to it by the Director-General. The award made by the Industrial Court binds all parties to the reference of the court.
Before the amendment, the Director-General of Industrial Relations had to consult with the Minister of Human Relations. Now, the Director-General can directly refer to the Industrial Court, thus simplifying the process.
Sources: Malay Mail, JPPM, The Star
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