Updated: Nov 1, 2022
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Hours of Work (Industry) Convention (No. 1) of 1919 introduced a maximum standard working time of 48 hours per week and eight hours per day as an international norm.
In Malaysia, The maximum weekly working time is stipulated in section 60A(1)(d).
This section states that an employee shall not be obliged under the terms of his contract of service to work more than 48 hours in one week (*), except for the circumstances described in the following section.
The forty-eight-hour week was designed to guarantee that the total amount of time spent working should not be more than eight hours each day over a span of six consecutive days.
Therefore, the total maximum of forty-eight hours may be calculated by multiplying the statutory restriction of eight working hours per day with the maximum limit of six working days per week.
This results in a total maximum of forty-eight hours.
In the case of shift employees, however, subsection (1) of section 60C permits the calculation of the average number of hours worked throughout a period of three weeks.
According to the law, an employee who is engaged under his contract of service in shift work may be required by his employer to work more than eight hours in any one day or more than forty-eight hours (*) in any one week; however, the law states that the average number of hours worked over any period of three weeks shall not exceed forty-eight hours per week.
This limit is in place to protect employees from working excessively long hours.
The law has been amended to allow for Flexible Working Arrangements
However, the Employment Act 1955 has been amended so that it now contains Part XIIC, which is an important component that makes provisions for various flexible working arrangements.
In relation to their employment, employees can now make written requests to their employers according to Sections 60P and 60Q of the Act for a flexible working arrangement to vary the:-
hours of work;
days of work; or
place of work,
Then, employers have sixty days to react with a decision, and if the request is denied, employees are entitled to an explanation of the decision.
Simply put, flexible work arrangements are alternate arrangements or schedules from the traditional working day, hour or place.
(*) The Amendment Act 2022 reduces the maximum working hours per week to 45 hours for all employees under the scope of EA 1955 irrespective of whether they are non-shift employees or shift employees.
Enforcement of the amendments to Malaysia's Employment Act 1955 will begin on 1 January 2023.
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