PETALING JAYA - Malaysians put in long hours at work out of necessity as they need to make more money.
MTUC president Mohd Khalid Atan said many worked overtime as they got triple the daily salary rate on public holidays and double on rest days.
“According to a survey by the Labour Department, 35% to 40% of our private sector workers in most industries earn less than RM700 (S$277). How can they cope with the current rising cost of living with such a salary?” he said in an interview.
Mohd Khalid was responding to Expedia’s 2012 Vacation Deprivation Survey that showed Malaysia has the world’s fourth most dedicated workforce, after India, Brazil and Italy, with almost 90% of employees working even when they are on holiday.
A total of 40% of respondents said they were reluctant to go on vacation because they feared their bosses would not be happy about it.
Khalid said he has received complaints that some employers deducted incentives and allowances of their workers when they went on annual leave.
“I have seen this when I was working in a factory for 17 years and it’s still happening today,” he said.
Cuepacs president Datuk Omar Osman said it was unfair to ask civil servants to cancel their planned vacation with their families.
“Bosses should have a contingency plan if an employee is going on holiday,” he said.
He said he has received many complaints from civil servants that their department heads have “threatened” to take action against them if they refuse to work on their offdays.
When asked if employees should still respond to calls or e-mails related to work when on leave, Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Shamsuddin Bardan said certain conditions need to be met.
“If the matter is urgent and the employee has been the only one managing a particular task, then it is reasonable to respond as it could affect the business of the company.
“However, if it can wait, then it would be unreasonable for the employer to push their employee to work during their leave,” he said.
myStarjob.com editor and Leaderonomics CEO Roshan Thiran said the productivity of the workforce was still low.
“We need to figure out how we can increase our productivity by doing as much as before but in less time,” he said.
He added employees should not fear having to take time off to revitalise as they would get burnt out if they don’t.