Are meal times included in working hours?

PSM welcomes the statement issued by the Human Resource Minister V. Sivakumar on 26th February 2023 recently urging all employers to not make more excuses in implementing the new amendments to the labour law especially regarding the reduction of working hours from 48 hours a week to 45 hours a week.

However the human resource minister has yet to address the real issue with the implementation of this particular amendment. PSM and Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) have made other statements about the inclusion of meal times into working hours. Even the previous minister who proposed this amendment, M. Saravanan, has recommended that they should be included.

Yet, the current minster has yet to make a statement and a conclusive decision on this matter. Until this is done, employers will continue to use this loophole to continue this non compliance.

If this is not rectified, this amendment will have little significance for shift workers and no change for most office workers. If the government would like to follow the ILO recommendations and eventually implement the recommended 40 hours a week policy, it should start by clarifying these loopholes that exist in the current system.

Geetha A.
Biro Pekerja PSM

8th March 2023

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