While those who have already been in the workforce for a while may already been accustomed to the labour laws, here are some fundamental need-to-knows for those who are just about to venture into the working world:
1. PROBATION PERIODS
This is probably the first thing you go through especially if it’s your first job. The probation period is basically a period of time in which your boss assesses whether you’re the right fit for the job – mentally, physically and socially. While many usually get the job, some do fail to make the cut (*reality check*).
And for those who fail to make the cut, but think you’ve done okay, the Act states that your employer should have a justified reason or excuse for dismissing your services in the company. So, if your not-so-future-employer failed to brief you on where you went wrong, Section 20 of the Industrial Relations Act 1967 (IRA) can be attained for wrongful dismissal and justification of its cause against them.
2. SICK LEAVE
Many employers don’t stress on how many Medical Certificates (commonly known as MC) you’re eligible for throughout the year when briefing you on your contract. Plus, it really doesn’t help the company to have one employee who is nearly always out sick and another that’s at work even with a contagious leaky nose (what a suck up!).
So here’s what Section 60F of the IRA has to say about your unforeseen visits to the clinic;
For a service of less than two years, you’re allowed a number of 14 days of M.Cs
18 days for those between two to five years of service;
And 22 days in a calendar year for those in service for more than five years.
But before you run off on holiday under sick leave, be sure to take note of all the panel clinics and hospitals that you’re eligible to attain your MC from. A smart employer would ensure that they only partner with health centres that prescribe legitimate MC’s.
Don’t forget to also inform your employer of your absence for medical reasons because if you fail to do so, you’ll be fired. Ok, maybe not… But simply going MIA is considered being “absent from work without permission” and almost all companies will have a policy that may actually result in your termination.
3. WORKING HOURS AND OVERTIME
Hello pretty bank balance, goodbye social life.
The notion of a “9 to 5” clearly defines the number of hours a typical organisation requires you to work. But if by any chance you’re working a nine hour shift daily, don’t go making a fuss just yet because you might have agreed to it in your contract (yes – the one you signed on the dotted line for).
As for overtime, if you’ve been clocking in at nine and out at five – and have been religiously doing do – then you’re good to go. But for those who have been staying on after hours – thou shall be paid overtime.
Section 60A (1)(iii) and (3) of the IRA clearly states that employees shall abide by the contract set by the employer so long as they are not required to work more than nine hours a day or 48 hours a week (unless required), and employees have the right to be paid no less than 1.5 of your hourly salary if you’re required to work more as stated in the contract.
4. PAYMENT OF WAGES
It goes without saying that $$$ are the best part of a whole working month. But it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, and understanding how your wages are to be paid and by when you should legally get it by is important so you don’t get stranded with overdue bills.
Your pay should be in your bank or handed in a cheque no later than SEVEN days after your usual pay day. So if your salary comes in late on a regular basis, you can do more than simply shrugging it off. It’s your right to get your money when it’s due (or maybe just six days later).
5. ANNUAL LEAVE
If you’re planning on going for a trip to celebrate the new job, first check if you have enough annual leave to apply for instead of assuming that it’s limitless so long as you turn up for work more than three quarters of the year.
Unless stated otherwise in your contract, Section 60E of the IRA allows you the right to a minimum of;
- Eight (8) days of annual leave for service under two years in a company
- Twelve (12) days of annual leave for service of two to five years in a company
- Sixteen (16) days of annual leave for service of more than five years in a company
6. BREACH OF CONTRACT
Because your employment agreement is in black and white, if your employer fails to abide by the law, it is your right to terminate your contract of service without notice according to Section 13 of the IRA. No stressing on a resignation letter if that’s the case! But remember, it can work both ways as well! If you breach the contract, you can be dismissed immediately too. So read up on your appointment letters and contracts so you know what you need to avoid and what you must obey; and also what the employer can and can not do as well.
There are many more sections in the IRA that would help you gain leverage in your employment. Take some time to learn them and equip yourself before you venture into the working world. Or your could go to this Malaysian Labour Law website to check it out a list of things to arm yourself with as well.
Who says you need to be a noob just because you’re the office newbie?