Enact amendment to the Employment Act

By:

Rusni Tajari

Affiliations:

Women's Aid Organisation (WAO)

Policy Code:

2c Women

Problem Statement:

Paid paternity leave is not made compulsory in the private sector, maternity leave falls short of ILO standards, and employees and job seekers rights are not fully protected from discrimination under current Employment Act 1955

Value(s) and Belief(s):

To achieve fair distribution of family responsibilities between men and women

An expanded understanding of definition of discrimination must be in compliance compliance with articles 2a, 3 and 4 of CEDAW

Policies must be introduced in compliance with ILO Convention 100 and CEDAW concluding observations to Malaysia to reduce gender wage gap.

Proposal of Solution:

1) Table and pass the proposed amendments to the Employment Act which includes;
- To introduce at least seven days paternity leave in the private sector;
Extend paid maternity leave in the private sector from 60 to 90 days;
- Introduce prohibitions against discrimination based on gender, religion, race, and disability status for employees and job seekers;
- Introduce the right to request for flexible working hours and be protected from discrimination as a result of doing so;
- Strengthen protection against sexual harassment in the Employment Act 1955, in addition to passing an independent Sexual Harassment Act
Definition of discrimination to include direct and indirect discrimination

2) Include positive duties for employers such as provision of day care facilities, transportation for night work, programs for re- entry after childbirth, access facilities for the disabled, and temporary special measures to give an advantage to workers on the basis of gender, disability or minority or other disadvantaged status.

3) Introduce into the Employment Act the principle of Equal Pay for Work of Equal Value as provided for in ILO Convention 100.

Additional Information:

The definition of discrimination is not comprehensive Employers must have an obligation to implement positive duties. Prohibition of discrimination alone is not enough to achieve equality. WAO has been negotiated with trade unions who accepted this concept. This domesticates ILO Convention 100 which has been ratified by Malaysia in 1997 but not incorporated into domestic law yet. This is an opportunity to do this Further reading; WAO Report – “Malaysian Perspectives on Discrimination in the Workplace: How the amendments to the Employment Act can enhance gender equality.” Link: https://wao.org.my/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Employment-Act-Amendments-1.pdf

Translation

Isu dan Polisi Semasa:

Cuti paterniti berbayar tidak diwajibkan di sektor swasta, cuti materniti tidak memenuhi piawaian ILO, dan hak pekerja dan pencari kerja tidak sepenuhnya dilindungi dari diskriminasi di bawah Akta Pekerjaan 1955 sedia ada.

Nilai-nilai dan Kepercayaan:

1) Untuk mencapai pembahagian tanggungjawab keluarga yang adil di antara lelaki dan wanita.
2) Pemahaman yang lebih luas mengenai definisi diskriminisi mesti memenuhi dan mencapai maksud sesuai dengan Artikel 2a, 3 dan 4 dalam CEDAW
3) Dasar yang diperkenalkan mesti bersesuaian dengan Konvensyen ILO 100 dan cadangan keutamaan CEDAW kepada Malaysia untuk mengurangkan jurang gender

Penyelesaian:

1) Bentangkan dan luluskan candangan pindaan Akta Pekerjaan yang merangkumi; - Perkenalkan sekurang-kurangnya tujuh hari cuti paterniti berbayar di sektor swasta; - Memanjangkan cuti bersalin berbayar di sektor swasta dari 60 kepada 90 hari; - Perkenalkan larangan diskriminasi berasaskan gender, kaum, agama, dan status ketidakupayaan bagi pekerja dan pencari kerja
- Perkenalkan hak untuk memohon waktu kerja yang fleksibel dan dilindungi dari diskriminasi terhadap permohonan waktu kerja fleksibel;
- Perkukuhkan perlindungan terhadap gangguan seksual dalam Akta Pekerjaan 1955, selain dari meluluskan Akta Gangguan Seksual
- Definis diskriminasi merangkumi diskriminasi langsung dan tidak langsung
2) Memasukkan tanggungjawab positif kepada majikan seperti penyediaan kemudahan penjagaan anak, pengangkutan bagi kerja shif malam, program latihan memasuki semula dalam tenaga kerja selepas bersalin, akses kemudahan bagi golongan orang kurang upaya, dan langkah-langkah khas sementara untuk memberi kelebihan kepada pekerja berdasarkan gender, kekurangan upaya, atau minoriti dan status kekurangan yang lain. 3) Perkenalkan dalam Akta Pekerjaan 1955 prinsip gaji samarata bagi kerja yang mempunyai nilai yang sama seperti yang termaktub dalam Konvensyen ILO 100.

Informasi Tambahan:

The definition of discrimination is not comprehensive Employers must have an obligation to implement positive duties. Prohibition of discrimination alone is not enough to achieve equality. WAO has been negotiated with trade unions who accepted this concept. This domesticates ILO Convention 100 which has been ratified by Malaysia in 1997 but not incorporated into domestic law yet. This is an opportunity to do this Further reading; WAO Report – “Malaysian Perspectives on Discrimination in the Workplace: How the amendments to the Employment Act can enhance gender equality.” Link: https://wao.org.my/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Employment-Act-Amendments-1.pdf