Skyline de Malasia que cambiará la Legislación Laboral Malasia

The Malaysian Parliament will change Malaysian labor legislation as it has recently passed a new employment law (A1651), which will replace the old law of 1955 (A265) starting next January. This new law brings significant changes that will affect labor relations between employers and workers, including, of course, employers with their foreign workers. Hence, it’s important to briefly highlight some of its most essential aspects, starting with the first one, its scope of application, which covers all workers, regardless of their monthly salary, unlike the previous law, which limited this scope to workers earning RM 2,000 or less.

The ultimate goal of the new Malaysian labor legislation is to increase the benefits and protection of workers, a circumstance that is particularly noticeable in certain areas, such as those related to maternity (98 days) and paternity leave (7 days) or hospitalization leave (60 days); working hours (45 per week) or flexible work agreements. In the latter case, the law provides that a worker may submit a written request to their employer regarding the hours, days, or place of work, with the obligation on the part of the employer to respond within a maximum period of 60 days, accepting or rejecting it, but always, of course, in a reasoned manner.

Moreover, the law emphasizes two other aspects of special importance, not only for their content but also for their relevance, such as the fight against sexual harassment and the protection of gender equality. In the first case, it refers to another law, recently published, which will come into force soon, such as the law against sexual harassment (A840), imposing on employers the obligation to investigate any complaint of sexual harassment that occurs in the workplace. And in the second case, pending a new law on gender equality, prohibiting any discrimination based on gender, which, if it occurs, must be reported to the Director-General of Labor.

Finally, in this brief review of the most important elements of this new employment law, mention must be made of the hiring and dismissal of foreign workers. Regarding hiring, after repealing the old rules hitherto in force, it requires as an essential prerequisite, the obtaining of prior approval before hiring a worker. And regarding dismissal, Malaysian labor legislation requires that the employer inform the competent authority within 30 days of it. And this aside from other requirements, such as obtaining the employer’s agreement before applying for a work permit from the Expatriate Committee or another regulatory body.

Antonio Viñal
AVCO Legal