[Member] Introduction of Flexible Working Arrangement

Employees seeking flexibility in their working hours may apply for flexible working arrangements (FWA) with their respective employers under the amendment to the Employment Act 1955 which will come into force on September 1st.

This means that the Employment Act 1955 will be amended to include Part XIIc on “Flexible Working Arrangement”. According to this amendment, in the contract of service, an employee may apply to an employer for a flexible working arrangement to vary the hours of work, days of work or place of work in relation to his employment. However, where there is a collective agreement, any application made by the employee must be consistent with the terms and conditions in the collective agreement.

In regards to the application for FWA, it must be in writing and in the form and manner as may be determined by the Director General. Besides, upon application the employer shall receive, approve or refuse the application within 60 days. The employer shall inform the employee in writing regarding their approval or refusal of the application. In the case of a refusal, the employer shall state the ground of such refusal.

It should be noted that in relation to the flexible working arrangement, Deputy Minister of Human Resources Datuk Awang Hashim said that a study has also been conducted on working 4 days a week instead of the usual 5 days a week to ensure that employers were not negatively impacted should it be implemented in the future.

“Studies are still being conducted and so far, we have seen that the four working days have not reduced employee productivity. If there are employers who are affected, we will take into account the study to discuss further in the ministry,” he said.

However, economist Professor Emeritus Barjoyai Bardai disagreed with the four-day working week, stating that Malaysia was not ready to implement such a policy due to factors of low productivity.