Pursuant to variations contained in the Work (Modification) Act 2022 (“the Modification Act”), which the government has declared will come into drive on 1 September 2022, staff members in Malaysia will be authorized to apply to their employer for a Adaptable Operating Arrangement (“FWA”). (For a a lot more extensive appear at the improvements underneath the Amendment Act, go through my previously short article: “Malaysia Work Act amendments: 7 vital variations for employers to note”)
The introduction of FWAs below the Amendment Act is the to start with time that FWAs have been formally recognised in Malaysia, and may possibly be the initially of several this sort of variations — the governing administration has also shared that it is conducting reports on the feasibility of a 4-day performing week. Malaysian companies can count on FWAs to develop into more commonplace in the in close proximity to long run, and need to start off making ready now. A number of of my clientele are already putting in area the needed adaptable doing work procedures and other relevant documents to not only be certain that they are not caught unprepared appear the 1st of September, but also to lay the foundations for the anticipated changes in the up coming couple of a long time.
This article sets out the critical points that need to be lined in a Flexible Doing work Policy, and also other advisable administrative/HR paperwork that companies should strongly take into consideration putting into spot to effortlessly accommodate FWAs.
What the Amendment Act suggests
The foundation of any interior paperwork and guidelines have to usually be what is basically stated by the law. The FWA provisions in the Modification Act are fairly straightforward. FWAs are offered less than the Modification Act by the introduction of a new Component XIIC.
A new Part 60P states that an employee may use to an employer for a flexible doing the job arrangement to range the —
- several hours of do the job
- times of perform or
- position of work,
in relation to his employment.
The software system is set out in a new Portion 60Q, which states that:
- The employee’s flexible performing arrangement software will have to be in creating “and in the kind and way as may perhaps be decided by the Director General” (for now, no path has been made about the type/manner of the software).
- The employer need to approve or refuse the software inside of 60 times from the date the application is received, and notify the employee in crafting of the final decision.
- If the software is refused, the employer ought to point out the floor of these types of refusal.
Thus, these are the vital lawful features which have to be coated by any inside procedures, and which will then be supplemented by articles to address various other practical considerations.
Vital factors that will need to be coated in a Adaptable Working Plan
Even following the Amendment Act arrives into drive, it is not obligatory for employers to put in place a Flexible Doing the job Coverage. Even so, introducing such a coverage is a proposed ideal exercise, as executing so will supply clarity for the administration and staff members on what the employer’s position is regarding flexible doing the job preparations. A very clear plan also suggests there will be certainty for all events on how FWA programs will be managed, and the Versatile Performing Policy can be supplemented by an inside advice doc for HR/administration.
A Flexible Operating Coverage can assortment in complexity and size, from as very simple as a handful of paragraphs on a one web page, to a a great deal far more in depth plan. These are a number of crucial challenges which an helpful Adaptable Working Plan should really handle.
- The applicability, scope, and outcome of the coverage: It ought to be very clear from the outset which personnel the plan applies to. This is particularly critical for larger sized and multi-countrywide organisations which are probable to engage employees on a vast range of different employment associations, together with aspect-time staff members, temp staff, secondees, and interns. The coverage really should also state that although versatile performing arrangements are recognised by the company, this does not suggest that all programs for such arrangements will be quickly accredited, or that personnel are contractually entitled to such arrangements.
- The different kinds of versatile functioning arrangements recognised by the organization: When the Amendment Act generally allows workers to use to differ the hours, times, and position of perform, an employer can offer extra particulars through an inner Flexible Operating Plan. For instance, the coverage can outline particular preparations these kinds of as temporary FWAs (in which workforce can use for a FWA for a mounted period of 3-6 months), or fixed change FWAs (the place staff members can decide on both to do the job Monday-Wednesday or Wednesday-Friday). The reward of expressly location out the distinct kinds of “company approved” FWAs is that it offers staff with clear selections to opt for from, allows the firm to have some manage in excess of the kinds of FWA apps that will be submitted, and also sets anticipations that FWA purposes exterior individuals alternatives are probable to be turned down.
- Any pre-established conditions or limitations on adaptable doing work arrangements: In addition to the specific kinds of FWAs as outlined in the former section, the policy should really also spell out the disorders or limitations on all those FWAs. For instance, the enterprise might let an staff to do the job remotely, but issue to a limitation that the location need to be inside of the identical country or in a unique length from the business office, or that the personnel should be ready to be present in the workplace for a month-to-month in-human being assembly, or be equipped to show up at conferences at customers’ workplaces. As another example, the business could allow for decreased operating hours matter to a least amount of hours per 7 days.
- Obligations in relation to confidentiality and wellbeing and security: Two main fears that companies have when it comes to distant operating are in relation to confidentiality, and health and security. The Flexible Functioning Coverage really should established out the expectations and obligations on personnel who are authorized to perform remotely. The extent of these obligations will count on the precise job, data access degree, mother nature of get the job done, as nicely as industry-precise requirements. Some businesses may well involve substantial-degree stability in relation to paperwork or materials to be in place in the employee’s remote workspace. For wellbeing and protection, there must be minimum needs in terms of tools and the issue of the workspace (or the prerequisite to have a designated workspace), and some employers could want to mandate a wellbeing and protection inspection, or a self-evaluation checklist.
- Probable modifications to wage, flexible functioning allowances, or other added benefits/remuneration: Depending on the kinds of FWAs specified in the coverage (see earlier mentioned), it may well be doable to spell out aspects of changes to payment as a outcome of an approved FWA. Alternatively, the plan can usually demonstrate that selected varieties of FWAs will occur with alterations to income or rewards — for case in point, a long term reduction in working hrs will indicate that an employee’s present wage will be decreased, and maybe dependent on a set method. For multinational businesses, an personnel who will be operating in a distinct place below a FWA could have to swap to a distinctive payroll locale and have his/her income localised to his/her new locale centered on the company’s spend scales in that jurisdiction. The coverage can also include aspects of any new allowances as a result of a FWA (for example, distant business machines and set-up allowance), or any current allowances that will no more time be payable (for illustration, travelling or parking allowances).
- The company’s expectations of staff members below a FWA: A comprehensive Adaptable Doing the job Policy need to also briefly set out the company’s expectatations of personnel who have been authorized to do the job less than a FWA. This ought to incorporate the fundamental principles these as that workers with diminished doing work hrs are however envisioned to comprehensive their crucial deliverables, go to all scheduled conferences, and continue to abide with the company’s procedures and procedures. It can also consist of specifics wherever applicable, such as becoming essential to show up at a minimal range of on-website meetings.
- The software method: A essential component of any Versatile Functioning Policy will be the software and acceptance course of action. In addition to the normal applicability/scope part which was pointed out earlier mentioned, the part detailing the software course of action can set out other eligibility requirements. For case in point, the business could make it distinct that programs from staff in their probationary interval, or who are now undergoing a PIP, will not be approved. This section can set out how applications can be submitted (ideally the enterprise will also have a common FWA application form — see “Other advised documents” underneath), and the acceptance process. Exactly where applicable, the coverage really should also explain that any acceptance is conditional upon the staff signing a Versatile Working Settlement or a supplemental doc amending the applicable terms and circumstances of their present employment contract.
Other encouraged files
Moreover the Adaptable Performing Policy, it is also a advised very best observe for employers to have some or all of the adhering to files in put:
- Workflow or guideline for HR/administration: This is a private doc for HR/management-amount staff only, and will set out guidance on how to handle apps. This will incorporate placing out the suitable folks-in-cost for managing, selecting on, and responding to apps, as properly as the critical things to consider and relevant files. This is an important direction document to be certain that the suitable process is followed and the corporation is not exposed to any legal possibility.
- Template FWA application type: This standardised application kind will be referred to in the Adaptable Working Coverage, and workers will be strongly inspired to use this variety when applying for FWAs. Obtaining a template in spot will guarantee that all the applicable details is submitted as part of the application, and also makes it possible for the corporation to remind staff members of the terms and ailments that will be hooked up to profitable FWA purposes. If the Flexible Functioning Policy obviously sets out the diverse varieties of FWAs recognised by the company (see “#2: The distinctive sorts of versatile functioning preparations recognised by the company” previously mentioned), then the software type can include things like box-tick selections (for instance, the worker can use for “FWA 4: Improve of days of get the job done to Wednesday to Friday”).
- Template approval or rejection letters: Again, possessing this standardised doc in area will make it less difficult for HR/management and guarantee that the organization is not uncovered to any legal chance. The standard acceptance letter will listing down all associated documents (for example, the FWA Agreement or compliance checklist) and standardises all necessary alterations to the conditions and ailments of work. The regular rejection letter will incorporate plainly-worded and lawfully-appropriate reasons for rejecting any FWA applications.
- Template Flexible Doing work Arrangement: The purpose of this document is to established out any adjustments to the existing employment agreement or phrases/disorders of employment. No matter if or not this has to be in the form of a independent agreement, an addendum to the employment contract, or a very simple letter of undertaking by the personnel, will depend on the extent of the modifications essential.
- Compliance checklist for distant working preparations: This is the self-assessment checklist referred to above (see “#4: Obligations in relation to confidentiality and health and safety” above) and is a quite conventional doc that businesses who have workers doing the job remotely should by now be common with.
- Template FWA termination letter: This template is to provide any FWAs to an end if necessary. Acquiring this in area will assure that any lawful alterations that had been implemented because of to the transform to a FWA will be properly reversed exactly where important.
Positive aspects of preparing a Versatile Doing the job Plan and the other advised documents
Even though it is not necessary for businesses to have a Flexible Performing Policy or any of the other documents advised in this post, numerous Malaysian businesses are by now making ready these documents, and it is a recommended finest exercise with quite a few obvious positive aspects:
- It plainly communicates the employer’s placement on FWAs to personnel, and sets out the employer’s anticipations of any workforce who are taking into consideration FWAs, as effectively as the repercussions of FWAs these as modifications to compensation and gains.
- Placing out the varieties of FWAs recognised by the employer will help to streamline the style of FWAs that workers will apply for. For businesses with a big workforce, this is crucial to make sure that there are not much too many variants in the style of work preparations.
- The standardisation and streamlining of the process will also help you save a whole lot of time for HR/administration and produce extra certainty in the method from commence to finish. This considerably reduces exposure to legal threat for any potential missteps.
- From a sensible viewpoint, possessing a distinct Versatile Performing Policy will also assistance to make it simpler to justify any rejections of FWA apps that fall outside the house the parameters and conditions established out in the coverage.