Thursday, August 13

HR Ministry MCO guidelines: Employers to continue paying salary to permanent employees


KUCHING: Employers are required to continue paying a monthly salary and related allowances to their permanent employees during the extended Movement Control Order (MCO) period between April 1 and 14, said the Ministry of Human Resource.

However, attendance and travelling allowances are the exception because these would not be done during the extended MCO period, the ministry said when responding to a list of several frequently asked questions (FAQs) published on its website yesterday.

Employers are also not allowed to force their employees to take annual leave during the extended MCO period as annual leave, and rejection or approval should be given after the employees have applied for them.

During the extended MCO period, employers can take actions based on mutual agreement on whether or not to offer employees with fully paid leave, partial paid leave or unpaid leave.

If retrenchment is necessary the employers must follow the guidelines on retrenchment which are obtainable from the ministry’s website at

If employers failed to follow the guidelines, employees can lodged complaints to the Labour Department office, nearest to their respective working places.

Generally, retrenchment or downsizing remains the prerogative of employers, the ministry added.

In order to ensure that the retrenchment process was fair, employers must justify three matters to prove that their businesses are indeed affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, which are: employers have done all they can to prevent the retrenchment, for instance limiting working time, decreasing number of working days in a week, stopping overtime, freezing recruitment exercise, decreasing salary and conducting layoff and that retrenchment of local employees was inevitable, but only after all foreign workers are retrenched first.

Should retrenchment involved the locals, the principle of last in, first out must be adopted unless the employers has strong justification to act otherwise, the ministry said.

Eemployers must report the intended retrenchment process to the nearest Labour Department office within 30 days before the retrenchment is to be done.

On another pertinent matter, employers must direct all employees who have worked together with employers affected by Covid-19 virus to stay at home for 14 days to make sure that infection does not spread further.

Employers can also grant paid leave to other employees for the sake of their safety and health, the ministry said.