KUCHING (July 17): The state government plans to improve the Sarawak Labour Ordinance (SLO) by increasing the wage threshold from RM2,500 to RM4,000, among other things, so that it would be on par with those provided for under the Employment (Amendment) Act 2022 (EAA).
“After a series of engagements and consultations with employers and employee organisations, there was consensus on the need for the amendments to the SLO to be consistent with the amendments to the EA,” said Deputy Minister in Sarawak Premier’s Department (Labour, Immigration and Project Monitoring) Datuk Gerawat Gala in a statement.
The Mulu assemblyman was earlier asked about what had transpired during consultations with labour and employers’ groups pursuant to amending the SLO.
According to Labour Law Reform Coalition (LLRC) Sarawak representative Andrew Lo, the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) had earlier on wanted the wage threshold to be lower at RM3,000, which labour unions have objected to.
The coalition went even further in its argument by urging the Ministry of Human Resources to issue a ministerial order for the abolishment of the wage ceiling as soon as possible.
“This was in relation to the SLO as of 2019. To recap, when the SLO was last amended in 2005, the threshold was RM2,500, which was higher than the EA 1955 (RM2,000) at that time. Because of the lobbying by the employers, the minister reduced the threshold to RM2,000,” Lo was quoted to having said.
On another matter, Gerawat said there was not much issue on item paid holidays.
For now, paid holidays are 16 days under the EAA, and 17 days under the SLO.
However, he did not elaborate further the items under the SLO such as working hours, paternity leave, and maternity leave.
“All these have been discussed, and amendments would be undertaken,” said Gerawat.
Under the EAA, the present duration of weekly working hours, paternity leave and maternity leave are 45 hours, seven days and 98 days, respectively; versus 48 hours, zero day and 60 days, respectively, under the SLO.