How Should Employers Treat Public Holidays?

How Should Employers Treat Public Holidays? 2

Whenever you think of a public holiday, you will dream of beautiful beaches and the sunset or even embark on a road trip with your loved ones. Holidays make everyone happy including the employers. Happiness aside, what’s stirring the employers’ mind is, when it comes to employee’s entitlement to public holidays, how should they treat it?

Basically, employers can categorise the public holidays in 3 ways, namely: non-replaceable holidays; replaceable holidays and sudden declared holidays. Below are the differences of the 3 types of holidays.

How Should Employers Treat Public Holidays?
David Koh
Consultant, Meca Employers Consulting Agency Sdn Bhd
[email protected]

Firstly, there are 5 non-replaceable holidays under s.60D(1)(a) of the Employment Act 1955 which are the National Day, the Birthday of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the Birthday of the Ruler of the State or the Federal Territory Day, the Workers’ Day, and Malaysia Day. These 5 holidays are non-replaceable unless it falls on a rest day. The working day following immediately the rest day shall then be recognised as the substituted public holiday.

For example, the Birthday of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong which falls on 9th September 2017 (Saturday) is a rest day therefore, the working day following immediately the rest day which is 10th September 2017 (Sunday) shall be recognised as the substituted public holiday.

The other types of holidays are replaceable holidays. Any day declared as a public holiday under s.8 and s.9 of the Holidays Act 1951 can be replaceable, provided it is with the consent from the employees. Pursuant to the First Schedule of the Holiday Act 1951, there are several days listed in the schedule which is observed throughout Malaysia such as Hari Raya Haji which is happening on 1st September 2017 (Friday). The question is, can this holiday be replaced? The following are some points for employers to take note:

  1. Employers who observe only specific public holidays in a year and NOT ALL public holidays will not be obliged to observe 1st September 2017 as a public holiday. However, the opposite applies for employers who in their handbook/policies have stated that they observe ALL public holidays in a year.

In other words, employers should either declare 1st September 2017 as a public holiday; or treat 1st September 2017 as a normal working day and replace the holiday to another day. S.60D (1A) of the Employment Act 1955 provides for this right to replace provided, the employer gets the consent from the employees for such replacement.

  1. What if the government or the State has suddenly declared a holiday? The government recently announced that every employer must observe the Agong’s installation which was held on 24th April 2017 as a compulsory public holiday. The question is, how would the employers treat these unforeseen declared holidays?

The employers should either declare 24th April 2017 as a public holiday; or treat 24th April 2017 as a normal working day and replace the holiday to another day. S.60D(1A) of the

Employment Act 1955 provides for this right to replace provided the employer gets the consent from the employees.

In conclusion, whenever it comes to holidays, companies can either declare that day as a holiday or treat it as a normal working day and replace it with another day with the consent from the employees. Remember to return to work after a long holiday or else you won’t get paid. Have a great holiday!!

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