Employees in Malaysia who seek to work on a flexible basis may apply for Flexible Working Arrangements (FWA) with their employers under the Employment Act 1955 amendment, which will take effect on September 1.
According to Deputy Minister of Human Resources Datuk Awang Hashim, one must submit the FWA application in writing, and they may address changes to working hours, working days and the location of work.
He said that when the employee submits the application, the employer has 60 days to respond to the employer in writing. They can agree or reject the application and must provide reasons why they reject it.
On the four-day work week
Before that, he presided over the Northern Region Industrial Harmony Symposium programme, which aimed to strengthen the bond between employers and workers to protect industrial harmony and raise the bar for legal compliance.
Awang added that the government had also researched working four days a week to ensure employers would not suffer if it were to be implemented in the future.
He said that studies are still being conducted, and as of now, the ministry has seen that the four working days have not lowered employee productivity. He added that if there are employers who are affected, the ministry will take into account the study to discuss further.
According to an economist, Professor Emeritus Barjoyai Bardai, Malaysia is not prepared to embrace the four-day working week policy as it was first introduced in some developed nations due to problems related to low productivity.
Part XIIc: Flexible Working Arrangement
Part XIIc: Flexible Working Arrangement of the Employment (Amendment) Act 2022 states:
60p. (1) Subject to Part XII or anything contained in the contract of service, an employee may apply to an employer for a flexible working arrangement to vary the hours of work, days of work or place of work in relation to his employment.
(2) Where there is a collective agreement, any application made by the employee under subsection (1) shall be consistent with the terms and conditions in the collective agreement.
Application for flexible working arrangement
60q. (1) The employee shall make an application for flexible working arrangement under section 60p in writing and in the form and manner as may be determined by the Director General.
(2) Upon the application made under subsection (1), an employer shall, within sixty days from the date such application is received, approve or refuse the application.
(3) The employer shall inform the employee in writing of the employer’s approval or refusal of the application under subsection (1) and in the case of a refusal, the employer shall state the ground of such refusal.”.
An employee may request "flexible working arrangements" under the amended Act. However, the employer is not required by law to grant this request. The employer is only required to approve or reject the application within 60 days, and if it is rejected, the employer is required to state why.