Malaysia: Changes to Employment Act increases domestic workers’ income protection

Updated On: Apr 27, 2009

Employers will soon have to credit the wages of their domestic helpers in banks or other financial institutions, outgoing Human Resources Ministry Secretary-General Datuk Thomas George said.

At present, the wages are kept by the employers and this had led to abuse where the domestic helpers were not paid their dues.

An amendment to the Employment Act of 1995 would be a step toward ensuring that domestic helpers were not victimised and deprived of their remunerations.

The Malaysian paper, Bernama reported that the amendments would be tabled in parliament by year end or early next year.

George acknowledged that there were gaps in the present procedures for hiring maids which could be abused but said the ministry was working to overcome them.

Industrial Relations Department director-general Mohd Yunus Razzaly said there were other gaps in the current procedure for the employment of domestic workers which are being looked at, such as the high cost of recruitment which domestic workers have to pay off.

"Workers' lack of credit results in high borrowing and indebtedness to agents and employers, which contributes to dependency and abuse," he said.

Mohd Yunus said the drafting of legislation to protect domestic workers from abuse and exploitation would have to take into account all agencies and factors involved, including the number of working hours, a minimum wage and weekly leave.

"The different working conditions and types of service, the ability of employers to pay and other issues (have to be studied)," he said.

"The Act also states that an employee can work for no more than 12 hours a day. There are specific restrictions," he added.


Bernama, Compulsory For Employers To Bank In Maid's Salary Soon, 23 April 2009, http://www.bernama.com/bernama/v5/newsindex.php?id=406168

The Sun Daily, Bosses may have to bank in maids' wages, 23 April 2009, http://www.thesundaily.com/article.cfm?id=32670

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