Polling Day on Wednesday 9th May 2018 Declared as a Public Holiday

Announcements16 Apr 2018

UPDATED GUIDANCE NOTES TO EMPLOYERS:

The Government of Malaysia has declared Wednesday 9th May 2018 (polling day for the 14th General Elections) as a public holiday.

Such declarations of ad-hoc public holidays are pursuant under Section 8 of the Holidays Act 1951 – thus it is an additional public holiday entitlement to the mandatory eleven (11) days under Section 60(D)(1)(a) of the Employment Act 1955.

Practical Implications To You…..

(1) (Unless you work in a unionised sector), employers are NOT legally obligated to close for business on Wednesday 9th May 2018 as this ‘public holiday’ is declared under Section 60(D)(1A) which means it is a ‘replaceable’ public holiday

(2) Thus for employers who decide NOT to close for business on Wednesday 9th May 2018, they can:-

(a) provide employees’ with an additional paid holiday (at a date determined by employer’s without any need for consultation with the employees) or

(b) provide an additional day annual leave entitlement (or holiday pay in lieu)

Regardless of whether employers decide (a) or (b) – employers must ensure that all their employees who are registered voters are afforded a reasonable opportunity to vote.

You are reminded that under the Election Offences Act 1954, employers are obliged to allow their employees who are registered voters a reasonable period of paid time-off for voting. The relevant provisions of Section 25 of the Election Offences Act 1954 are as follows:

Section 25 (1) Every employer shall, on polling day, allow to every elector in his employ a reasonable period for voting, and no employer shall make any deduction from the pay or other remuneration of any such elector or impose upon or exact from him any penalty by reason of his absence during such period…

Section 25 (3) Any employer who, directly or indirectly, refuses, or by intimidation, undue influence, or in any other manner, interferes with the granting to any elector in his employ, of a reasonable period for voting, as in this section provided, shall on summary conviction be liable to a fine of five thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for one year…

The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has suggested that employers may consider any one or a combination of the following arrangements for the convenience of their employees who are registered voters to cast their votes:

(a) Allow them to report for work, say, two hours late; or

(b) Grant them two hours extension of their lunch break; or

(c) Release them, say, two hours earlier.

If an employee who is a registered voter needs to cast his /her vote at outstation polling centre and 9th May 2018 is a normal working day for the said employee, it is reasonable for the Company to require such employee to apply for annual leave/unpaid leave for the said purpose.

In applying for or granting paid time-off, reasonableness is to be expected from the employer and the employee who is a registered voter.

We must stress that the above guidance is MEF’s view of a fair and reasonable construction of the obligations imposed on employers to ensure that all their employees who are registered voters are afforded a reasonable opportunity to vote. They are, however, intended only as guidelines and companies are at liberty to make such other ‘ad hoc’ arrangements, as they may deem appropriate to deal with individual cases in the context of their operational requirements.

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