Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Chamber losing sleep over flexi-hours, shorter week

Secara Rawak

KUCHING: Adequate consultation and brainstorming with the stakeholders is needed before any far-reaching policy is implemented by the government.

Kuching Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCGCCI) secretary-general Datuk Jonathan Chai said this in response to the majority of Malaysians wanting flexible work hours instead of four work days per week.

According to him, while most employers are only beginning to crawl back on the recovery path from the aftermath of the revision of the minimum wage, no one in business wants to experience another disastrous shock within such a short time.

“This is because there would be severe implications on the escalating cost of doing business in this challenging time.

“That is why, I would like to appeal to all the industry players to have sufficient consultation before the government implements this policy,” he said when contacted on Saturday (July 2).

On Malaysia offering flexible working hours as an option, he pointed out that the flexibility offered could not be adopted in every industry here.

“Like some western countries, it would only be pragmatic for the professionals and the consultancy sector where employees could work flexibly at different hours or even at home because the employers only look at the results of their work with minimal supervision required.

“Such flexibility is not possible in the manufacturing sector for example because the hours for rotation of shifts are required to be observed strictly,” he said.

Meanwhile, on the subject of shorter workweek, Chai felt if such policy is allowed, it would have disastrous effects on the economy of Malaysia.

“I think the government should realise that a policy which works for other countries especially the developed first world countries might not work or augur well in our country when we are in dire need of raising the productivity of our workers.

“Shorter workweek would possibly mean shorter total weekly working hours unless daily working hours are lengthened.

“If so, employees might be stressed out for the additional working hours every day which is also bad for both the employees and the employers from the perspectives of health and productivity respectively,” he stated.

Recently, Deputy Human Resources Minister Awang Hashim announced that employees of Malaysia who want to work on a flexible basis can apply for Flexible Working Arrangements (FWA) with their respective employers under the amendment to the Employment Act 1955 which will come into force on September 1.

After the announcement, a research by Qualtrics has found that the majority of Malaysians prefer to work flexible hours while some others rather have a shorter work week.

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