From 1st September 2022, fellow Malaysians can submit written applications that can cover changes in working hours working days and also the place of work!

It was recently announced by the Deuty Minister of Human Resources Datuk Awang Hashim, he stated: “When the application is made, the employer must give an answer to the employee in writing whether to agree or reject the application within 60 days and must give reasons why the application was rejected”.

He later highlighted that a study has also been conducted on working four days a week to ensure that companies would not face severe repercussions should such an arrangement 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.

This is an interesting change to our Malaysia Employment Act, however it is arguably just performative without any real impact. Despite this, employer is not under any obligation to consider these applications or to provide any reasonable grounds to refuse them.

The new amendment states that an employee may apply for a flexible working arrangement to vary their;

  • hours of work;
  • days of work; or
  • place of work

The application process is set out in a way that;

  • The employee’s flexible working arrangement application must be in writing “and in the form and manner as may be determined by the Director General” (for now, no direction has been made regarding the form/manner of the application).
  • The employer must approve or refuse the application within 60 days from the date the application is received, and inform the employee in writing of the decision.
  • If the application is refused, the employer must state the ground of such refusal.

Flexibility here means having control over the hours employees want to work, where they want to work as well as the freedom choosing the days they work and importantly having their work measured by performance, not hours.

While having a flexible working arrangements has its own benefits (improved health and well-being), there are concerns regarding standard working hours and company performance.

Well, what are your thoughts? Do you prefer to have freedom in planning your working arrangement or are you comfortable with the standard working hours?