Workers must be paid during movement control period

Straits Times picture

By Jack Lapidus

EMPLOYERS must continue to pay their workers wages during the 14-day movement control order enforced by the government to curb the spread of Covid-19, said Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak Division.

Its secretary Andrew Lo said employees who are quarantined should also be entitled to paid sick leave.

“We are very concerned about the impact of the decision on business and workers who remain the most vulnerable.

“It is our view that employers must continue to pay their workers, whether monthly or daily rated for the period of the restricted movement,” he said in a statement.

If employees are not being paid, it would be a fundamental breach of the employment contract that would entitle workers to file for constructive dismissal and claim compensation as high as one month salary for every year of service plus back wages up to 24 months salary.

“We therefore urge employers to discuss with their workers on practical arrangements during these challenging times.

“They may include paying their ful salaries except what is covered by the government’s special payment of RM600 as well as those that may be claimed from the Employment Insurance Scheme,” he said.

Lo also called on the Sarawak government to emulate the federal government by coming out with financial assistance for Sarawakian workers who are affected by the outbreak.

“These will lessen the burden on businesses,” he said.

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