Major Teoh’s Blog

FAQ – EA 1955

Who is covered under the Employment Act 1955 ?

All employees whose earnings do not exceed RM1,500.00 a month. This include all manual workers irrespective of their earnings. See First Schedule of the Act. which says, quote “ …. 1. Any person, irrespective of his occupation, who has entered into a contract of service with an employer under which such person’s wages do not exceed one thousand five hundred ringgit a month. … Unquote
Even a person who earns more that RM 1500 and who is a manual worker, is also covered by the EA 1955, if he satisfies the following:quote”…..

2. Any person who, irrespective of the amount of wages he earns in a month, has entered into a contract of service with an employer in pursuance of which —
(1) he is engaged in manual labour including such labour as an artisan or apprentice:

Provided that where a person is employed by one employer partly in manual and partly in some other capacity such person shall not be deemed to be performing manual labour unless the time during which he is required to perform manual labour in any one wage period exceeds one-half of the total time during which he is required to work in such wage period;

(2) he is engaged in the operation or maintenance of any mechanically propelled vehicle operated for the transport of passengers or goods or for reward or for commercial purposes;

(3) he supervises or oversees other employees engaged in manual labour employed by the same employer in and throughout the performance of their work;

(4) he is engaged in any capacity in any vessel registered in Malaysia and who —

(a) is not an officer certificated under the Merchant Shipping Acts of the United Kingdom as amended from time to time;
(b) is not the holder of a local certificate as defined in Part VII of the Merchant Shipping Ordinance, 1952; or
(c) has not entered into an agreement under Part III of the Merchant Shipping Ordinance, 1952;or  …….. ” Unquote.

Are foreign workers, legally employed in this country, covered by the Employment Act 1955.?

Yes, Please see section 60L. “Director General may inquire into complaint”, which says, inter alia, “….. (1) The Director General may inquire into any complaint from a local employee that he is being discriminated against in relation to a foreign employee, or from a foreign employee that he is being discriminated against in relation to a local employee, by his employer in respect of the terms and conditions of his employment; and the Director General may issue to the employer such directives as may be necessary or expedient to resolve the matter.”

What is a contract of service ?
It is a “master and servant” agreement whereby one party agrees to serve another for a consideration in exchange for the services rendered. This contract of service can be either oral or writing;  If such contract of service is for a specified period of time exceeding one month it must be in writing. The terms and conditions of service must be made in writing and be given to all employees on or before the commencement of his employment. These terms cannot be less favourable than the terms stipulated under the Employment Act 1955.

Breach of contract of service.

A contract of service is deemed to be broken if an employer fails to pay the employee his wages within seven days after the wage period. The employee too, is deemed to have broken this contract of service if he has been absent from work for more than two consecutive working days without prior leave from his employer.

What is “normal hours of work”?
“Normal hours of work” is the hours of work as agreed upon between an employer and an employee in the contract of service to be the usual hours of work per day. The normal hours of work should not exceed :
i. 8 hours a day excluding a period of rest;
ii. 5 consecutive hours of work without a period of rest of not less than thirty minutes; and
iii. 48 hours in a week.
Upon mutual agreement, hours of work can exceed 9 hours a day but it cannot exceed 48 hours in a week.

What is ‘overtime’?
Overtime is the hours of work carried out in excess of the normal hours of work per day.

What are the overtime rates?
It should not be less than the following:

On normal day’s work, 1 1/2 times the hourly rate of pay.

On rest day’s work, 2 times the hourly rate of pay.

On public day’s work, 3 times the hourly rate of pay.


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