The Malaysian election day falls on 19 November 2022. The caretaker Prime Minister recently also announced public holidays on 18 and 19 November 2022. Following this, many employers were left confused about how this would impact them and their businesses.
Below are some general elections FAQs answered:
Can employees take time off work to vote?
Recently, caretaker HR Minister, Datuk Saravanan announced that employers are obliged to allow their employees to take time off or a leave of absence, depending on the distance of their polling station. This direction is in line with the Elections Offences Act 1954. Employer’s failure to comply will result in a fine of a sum up to RM5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.
Are these public holidays compulsory or elective?
Datuk Saravanan announced that the public holidays were declared in line with Section 8 of the Holidays Act 1951 which is a general holiday as per Section 60D(1)(b) of the Employment Act 1955. This means that employers are allowed to substitute these holidays with another day. Alternatively, the employer will have to pay the salary rate for public holidays to these employees (the public holiday rule) should these employees be required to work.
What if my employee is not a Malaysian citizen?
If your employee is not a Malaysian citizen, they are not required to take time off or a leave of absence as they would not be voting. However, the public holiday rule above stands.
What if my business is closed on these days?
If your business is closed on any of these days, you are not required to pay your employees. However, if any of your employees are working from home or remotely, you will have to pay their salaries as normal (as per the public holiday rule above)
Can I force my employees to take leave on these days?
No, you cannot force your employees to take leave on these days.
Do I have to give my employees the day off if they voted early?
No, you do not have to give your employees the day off if they voted early or opted for postal voting. However, these employees are still entitled to public holidays, therefore the public holiday rule will again apply here.