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[Watch] Can You Take A Holiday? Here’s What You Need To Know About Your Leave Entitlements

[Watch] Can You Take A Holiday? Here’s What You Need To Know About Your Leave Entitlements

Your employer can tell you when to take your leave and ask you to work during busy times of the year.

Fernando Fong

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Holidays are an important part of keeping us fit for work.

We all need to recharge our mental and physical batteries from time to time.

But sometimes, some employers will not pay what they should which is why it is important for people to know their holiday rights.

Among the most frequently asked questions are:

  • Can employers choose whether to give public holidays or not?
  • Can employers force employees to work on public holidays?

Public holidays are gazetted under the Public Holidays Act 1951 in Malaysia.

Under the Employment Act 1955, employers are not obligated to give leave on each public holiday gazetted to their employees.

Employers can choose 11 days as paid holidays in one calendar year. 

However, of the 11, they must include:

  1. National Day
  2. YDP Agong’s Birthday
  3. Birthday of the Rulers/YDPertua Negeri or Territory Day if the employee works in the Federal Territory
  4. Labour day
  5. Malaysia Day

The above mandatory public holidays cannot be replaced with other days.

The employer can choose the remaining six more paid holidays at their discretion.

However, employees must be notified through a notice displayed at the workplace before the start of the new calendar year.

Additional Public Holidays

Another additional leave is under Section 60D (1) (b) of the Employment Act 1955, namely on any day declared as a public holiday under Section 8 of the Public Holidays Act 1951

Section 8 of the Public Holidays Act 1951 refers to surprise leave granted by the government, which has not been gazetted.

An example is when the government announced a special holiday for the success of the Malaysian football team in a tournament it participated in.

READ MORE: Public Holiday For KL On Friday After Football Win Against Johor

Such a holiday is in addition to the 11 leaves under Section 60D (1) (a) mentioned above.

However, employers can replace the date of this special holiday with any other day if desired.

Can An Employer Ask An Employee To Work On A Public Holiday?

Although the employer has set the days the employee is entitled to paid leave, this does not mean the employer cannot ask the employee to work on public holidays.

However, if the employee is on a public holiday, then the employee is entitled to a higher wage according to the minimum rate set by the Employment Act 1955.

Notwithstanding subsections (1), (1A) and (1B) any employee may be required by his employer to work on any paid day off to which he is entitled under those subsections and in such circumstances, he shall, in addition to day pay the relief he is entitled to for the day.

Section 60 D (3) (a) of the Employment Act 1955.

In the case of employees employed on a monthly, weekly, daily and hourly basis or another similar rate of pay paid two days’ wages at the regular rate; or

In the case of an employee employed at the rate per work, paid twice the standard rate for one work.

It does not matter that the work period performed on that day is less than regular working hours.

https://twitter.com/iamajayrahman/status/1468150878628573185

Employees can also be required to work the day before or after a public holiday.

Section 60 D (2) of the Employment Act 1955 outlines the conditions for attending work before or after a public holiday before the employee is entitled to paid public leave.

The meaning of absence here is without the employer’s permission (AWOL) and a reasonable excuse.

Any employee who is absent from work on a working day before or after a public holiday or two or more consecutive public holidays or any day or days substituted for him under this section without the prior permission of his employer is not entitled to any holiday pay for such holiday or consecutive holidays unless it has a reasonable excuse for the absence.”

Section 60 D (2) of the Employment Act 1955 on absence without leave.

According to the proviso in Section 60 D (1), if a public holiday falls on a rest day, then the following work shall be a public holiday in lieu.

Provided that if any of the public holidays referred to in paragraphs (a) and (b) fall on a rest day, then the following working day immediately after such rest day shall be a paid holiday in lieu of such public holiday.

Section 60 D (1) of the Employment Act 1955 on public holidays that fall on rest days and off days

Sick Leave Granted On Public Holiday

According to Section 60 D (1B), when sick leave overlaps with a public holiday, then this public holiday shall be replaced.

However, this leave is not ‘automatic’ and must be given on a day agreed by the employer.

If any such public holiday or any other day substituted thereto as provided in subsection (1) or (1A) falls within the period in which the employee is on sick leave or annual leave to which the employee is entitled under This Act, or falls within the period of temporary incapacity under the Workmen’s ‘Compensation Act 1952 or under the Employees’ Social Security Act 1969, the employer shall provide another day as a paid day off in lieu of the general holiday or the day replaced ”

Section 60 D (1B) of the Employment Act 1955 on sick leave that conincides with public holiday.

Paid Holidays Are Important Part Of Working Life In Malaysia

Recently, an HR practitioner posted a video on TikTok to explain the matter in a concise and easy-to-understand manner.

The TikTok user, SyakirHR, also answered various queries from netizens concerning entitlements and pay regarding public holidays.

@syakirhr Ganti Cuti Umum Hari Lain #majikanbaikkk #hakpekerja #buangkerja #undangundangmalaysia #sumbermanusia #pekerja #pekerjaan #pekerjakeras #majikan #waktukerja #kerja #kerjakeras #aktakerja #undangundang #curitulang ♬ original sound – myHRmudah – SyakirHR

The posting attracted the attention of many, not surprising given the fact that there are so many public holidays in Malaysia.

However, not all agree that it’s a bed of roses, especially for the working class.

How Is Public Holiday Work Calculated In Malaysia?

The rules for working on a public holiday; working normal working hours is paid at 2 days wages at the ordinary rate of pay.

For working on a public holiday in excess of normal working hours, it is paid at 3x the hourly rate of pay.

For example, if a worker is usually getting RM20 per day, working on a public holiday entitles the worker to RM60 per day.

The calculation is based on the holiday pay (RM20) + two days’ wages at the ordinary rate of pay (RM20 x 2 = RM40).


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