KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — Enforcement of amendments to the Employment Act 1955 to provide for shorter working hours has been postponed to January 1 next year from its earlier scheduled date of September 1, said Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan.

He said this was decided by the Cabinet today after industries and employers unanimously asked for the postponement due to several factors.

Apart from reducing working hours from 48 to 45 hours per week, the amended law will also increase maternity leave from 60 days to 98 days and paternity leave from three days to seven days.

He said engagement sessions with stakeholders found that industry players especially employers needed a bit more time for the amendments to come into force because they were still dealing with the issue of shortage of foreign workers and were recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.


“After listening to everyone we (the government) have come to a conclusion that we should give another three months for the recovery of the economy. Otherwise, I am just worried that if the industries suffer, a lot of us will lose their jobs.

“Of course, the ministry is concerned about the interests of the employees. This (delay) is to safeguard their interests,” he told a news conference here today.

Saravanan said the restrictions imposed on the entry of foreign workers in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic had resulted in a shortage of manpower in industries.


He said although Malaysia now allowed foreign workers to enter again, the process of fulfilling the manpower needs of industries would take time.

“This is the final postponement. By hook or by crook, these amendments will be enforced on January 1,” he added.

The amendments were approved by Parliament in March this year, and Saravanan had earlier said that the amended law would be enforced on September 1. — Bernama