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The Employment Act 1955 (EA), as amended by the Employment (Amendment) Act 2022, provides for certain minimum leave entitlements. The Act now covers all employees, apart from sections (like overtime provisions or termination benefits) only applicable to certain employees like manual workers or employees whose monthly wages do not exceed RM4,000.

Rest Day

According to section 59 of the EA, employees should be allowed at least one rest day each week.

Public Holidays

Section 60D of the EA provides that employees are entitled to 11 paid public holidays during one calendar year, 5 of which should be:

(i) the National Day;

(ii) the Birthday of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong;

(iii) the Birthday of the Ruler or the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, as the case may be, of the State in which the employee wholly or mainly works under his contract of service or the Federal Territory Day, if the employee wholly or mainly works in a Federal Territory;

(iv) Workers’ Day; and

(v) Malaysia Day.

In addition, employees are entitled to a paid public holiday on any day appointed as a public holiday for that particular year under section 8 of the Holidays Act 1951.

If the public holiday falls on a rest day or another public holiday then the next working day will be the public holiday. If the employee has more than one off day in the week then only the last of the off days counts as rest day for the purpose of the Employment Act.

Annual Leave

Section 60E of the EA provides that employees are entitled to paid annual leave of:

  • 8 days for every twelve months of continuous service if he has been employed for a period of less than two years;

  • 12 days for every twelve months of continuous service if he has been employed for a period of two years or more but less than five years; and

  • 16 days for every twelve months of continuous service if he has been employed by that employer for a period of five years or more.

The employee should take the leave no later than 12 months after the end of every 12 months’ continuous service, and he will no longer be entitled to such leave if he fails to do so.

The annual leave entitlement should be prorated if the employee has not completed twelve months of service during the year in which his contract terminates (any fraction of a day which is less than one half of a day is disregarded, while any fraction which is one half or more is deemed to be one day).

For more information on how to calculate the daily rate for unused leave pay, please refer to the Leave Pay paragraph in this article.

Sick Leave

Section 60F of the EA provides that employees are entitled to medical leave of:

  • 14 days in each calendar year if the employee has been employed for less than two years;

  • 18 days in each calendar year if the employee has been employed for two years or more but less than five years;

  • 22 days in each calendar year if the employee has been employed for five years or more.

If hospitalisation is necessary, the employee is entitled to an additional 60 days’ leave. Sick leave entitlement should not be prorated if the employee joins or leaves the company during the year.

Maternity Leave

According to section 37 of the EA, female employees are entitled to maternity leave of 98 consecutive days. She should receive a maternity allowance at her ordinary rate of pay for the eligible period if:

(i) she has been employed by the employer for a period of, or periods amounting in the aggregate to, not less than ninety days during the nine months immediately before her confinement; and

(ii) she has been employed by the employer at any time in the four months immediately before her confinement.

The maternity leave should not commence earlier than a period of thirty days immediately preceding the confinement or later than the day immediately following her confinement. No maternity allowance is payable if the employee has 5 or more surviving children at the time of her confinement.

Paternity Leave

According to section 60FA of the EA, married male employees are entitled to paternity leave at their ordinary rate of pay for 7 consecutive days (restricted to 5 confinements) provided:

(i) he has been employed by the same employer for at least 12 months prior to the commencement of the paternity leave; and

(ii) he has notified the employer of the pregnancy at least 30 days from the expected confinement or as early as possible after the birth.

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