The Human Resources Ministry has listed some ‘dos and donts’ for employers and employees following the extension of the movement control order (MCO) between April 1 to 14.
Here are responses to some of the most frequently asked questions.
1. Does an employer have to pay wages during the 14-day extension period?
Yes. Workers wages and fixed allowances must be paid except if the allowances are related to employees’ attendance or travel.
2. Can an employer order workers to go on annual leave or deduct their annual leave during the extended MCO period?
Employers cannot force workers to take annual leave or deduct their annual leave. This is because annual leave is based at the request of an employee.
3. Can an employer affected by Covid-19 retrench workers?
Retrenchment as a means to down-size due to excess of employees is generally accepted as it within the prerogative of the employers to do so.
However, employers must be genuine in their action and act fairly.
Employers are also bound by guidelines and regulations related to the retrenchment and must report to Manpower Department 30 days before implementation of retrenchment.
4. What should be done if an employee tests positive for Covid-19?
An employer must order workers who were in close contact with the infected person to self-quarantine at home for 14 days.
The employer must find out from the infected employee which colleagues he/she come within one and two meters distance and provide a list of such individuals.
Employers must maintain confidentiality over the matter and carry out disinfection of the building.
5. If an employee is confirmed positive for Covid-19, can an employer place all workers on unpaid leave?
Employers can place workers on leave to safeguard their safety and health, but they must be given paid leave and cannot deduct their annual leave. Employers also cannot force employees to go on unpaid leave.
6. What can be done to employers of non-essential services who continue to operate during the extended MCO without approval from the Health director-general?
Anyone can lodge a report with the police, Rela, Manpower Department or the Workers Health and Safety Department on the matter.
7. What can employee do if an employer flouts the MCO?
Employee can lodge reports with the police, Rela and Human Resource Ministry or seek further inquiry at 03-8889 2359/ 8890 3404/ 8886 2409/ 8886 2352/ 8888 9111 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.