April 22, 2024

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What employers should include in a Flexible Working Policy and other recommended documents

10 min read
What employers should include in a Flexible Working Policy and other recommended documents

Pursuant to modifications contained in the Employment (Amendment) Act 2022 (“the Modification Act”), which the federal government has declared will appear into drive on 1 September 2022, workforce in Malaysia will be authorized to use to their employer for a Flexible Functioning Arrangement (“FWA”). (For a much more detailed look at the modifications beneath the Amendment Act, browse my before article: “Malaysia Work Act amendments: 7 essential improvements for employers to note”)

The introduction of FWAs under the Amendment Act is the initial time that FWAs have been formally recognised in Malaysia, and may well be the first of many this sort of changes — the government has also shared that it is conducting scientific tests on the feasibility of a 4-working day doing work 7 days. Malaysian employers can count on FWAs to turn out to be more commonplace in the around potential, and will have to begin preparing now. Several of my clientele are now placing in area the needed adaptable performing guidelines and other connected files to not only assure that they are not caught unprepared arrive the 1st of September, but also to lay the foundations for the expected adjustments in the up coming pair of many years.

This posting sets out the vital details that need to have to be covered in a Versatile Working Plan, and also other advised administrative/HR documents that companies ought to strongly look at placing into position to easily accommodate FWAs.

What the Modification Act claims

The foundation of any inside paperwork and guidelines ought to usually be what is basically stated by the regulation. The FWA provisions in the Modification Act are rather uncomplicated. FWAs are offered under the Modification Act by the introduction of a new Portion XIIC.

A new Portion 60P states that an personnel may well utilize to an employer for a versatile doing work arrangement to differ the —

  • hours of do the job
  • times of perform or
  • place of do the job,

in relation to his employment.

The software system is established out in a new Portion 60Q, which states that:

  • The employee’s versatile functioning arrangement software will have to be in composing “and in the form and way as may perhaps be established by the Director General” (for now, no route has been designed concerning the kind/manner of the application).
  • The employer should approve or refuse the application inside of 60 times from the day the application is been given, and advise the worker in creating of the final decision.
  • If the software is refused, the employer will have to state the ground of these types of refusal.

Thus, these are the critical authorized things which have to be coated by any inside guidelines, and which will then be supplemented by content material to tackle several other sensible criteria.

Vital details that will need to be coated in a Adaptable Operating Policy

Even following the Amendment Act will come into force, it is not obligatory for businesses to put in place a Flexible Operating Coverage. Having said that, introducing this sort of a coverage is a advised ideal follow, as undertaking so will deliver clarity for the administration and workforce on what the employer’s situation is about flexible working preparations. A clear policy also usually means there will be certainty for all events on how FWA purposes will be handled, and the Adaptable Operating Policy can be supplemented by an interior steering doc for HR/administration.

A Adaptable Doing the job Coverage can variety in complexity and length, from as simple as a several paragraphs on a single site, to a considerably more comprehensive policy. These are a few essential problems which an effective Flexible Operating Plan ought to tackle.

  1. The applicability, scope, and effect of the plan: It really should be crystal clear from the outset which workforce the coverage applies to. This is especially critical for bigger and multi-national organisations which are most likely to interact employees on a wide array of diverse work associations, which includes component-time personnel, temp personnel, secondees, and interns. The policy should really also state that while flexible doing work arrangements are recognised by the organization, this does not indicate that all applications for these types of arrangements will be immediately approved, or that staff are contractually entitled to such arrangements.
  2. The diverse kinds of adaptable working arrangements recognised by the firm: While the Amendment Act commonly permits employees to apply to differ the hours, days, and area of get the job done, an employer can present more specifics as a result of an interior Versatile Performing Policy. For example, the coverage can define specific preparations these kinds of as momentary FWAs (exactly where personnel can use for a FWA for a fastened interval of 3-6 months), or preset shift FWAs (where staff can pick out both to operate Monday-Wednesday or Wednesday-Friday). The advantage of expressly environment out the unique kinds of “company approved” FWAs is that it presents workforce with clear options to choose from, makes it possible for the corporation to have some manage around the sorts of FWA purposes that will be submitted, and also sets anticipations that FWA programs outside the house these choices are probably to be turned down.
  3. Any pre-determined conditions or restrictions on flexible doing work preparations: In addition to the precise kinds of FWAs as talked about in the earlier part, the plan should also spell out the disorders or limitations on individuals FWAs. For instance, the company could enable an employee to work remotely, but matter to a limitation that the site must be in the very same region or inside of a specific length from the office environment, or that the worker will have to be ready to be existing in the office for a monthly in-particular person meeting, or be equipped to show up at meetings at customers’ workplaces. As another case in point, the business may possibly allow diminished functioning hours matter to a minimal selection of hrs for each week.
  4. Obligations in relation to confidentiality and health and protection: Two main worries that businesses have when it comes to distant doing the job are in relation to confidentiality, and overall health and security. The Flexible Doing the job Policy should established out the expectations and obligations on staff who are allowed to operate remotely. The extent of these obligations will count on the distinct role, information and facts entry amount, nature of perform, as very well as industry-certain necessities. Some companies may well have to have high-level stability in relation to files or materials to be in location in the employee’s distant workspace. For wellness and security, there should be bare minimum demands in conditions of products and the ailment of the workspace (or the need to have a designated workspace), and some companies could want to mandate a health and fitness and protection inspection, or a self-evaluation checklist.
  5. Possible alterations to income, flexible functioning allowances, or other positive aspects/remuneration: Depending on the kinds of FWAs specified in the coverage (see above), it may possibly be doable to spell out information of adjustments to payment as a outcome of an accredited FWA. Alternatively, the plan can commonly explain that certain sorts of FWAs will occur with improvements to income or gains — for illustration, a lasting reduction in doing the job hrs will necessarily mean that an employee’s current income will be diminished, and possibly based on a set components. For multinational businesses, an personnel who will be doing work in a distinctive state under a FWA might have to switch to a different payroll spot and have his/her wage localised to his/her new area based on the company’s pay scales in that jurisdiction. The coverage can also incorporate aspects of any new allowances as a end result of a FWA (for example, distant place of work products and set-up allowance), or any current allowances that will no for a longer period be payable (for example, travelling or parking allowances).
  6. The company’s expectations of workforce underneath a FWA: A extensive Adaptable Working Plan must also briefly established out the company’s expectatations of staff who have been authorized to perform underneath a FWA. This really should involve the fundamental principles these kinds of as that staff members with diminished functioning hours are nevertheless expected to comprehensive their crucial deliverables, go to all scheduled meetings, and carry on to abide with the company’s processes and guidelines. It can also incorporate particulars wherever relevant, these types of as currently being necessary to attend a minimum variety of on-website conferences.
  7. The application course of action: A important element of any Flexible Doing the job Plan will be the software and acceptance approach. In addition to the common applicability/scope segment which was pointed out earlier mentioned, the part detailing the application course of action can established out other eligibility standards. For instance, the enterprise might make it distinct that purposes from staff in their probationary interval, or who are now going through a PIP, will not be accepted. This portion can established out how apps can be submitted (ideally the enterprise will also have a typical FWA software form — see “Other advised documents” beneath), and the approval procedure. Where by pertinent, the plan should really also make clear that any acceptance is conditional upon the worker signing a Versatile Doing the job Arrangement or a supplemental doc amending the related conditions and conditions of their present work contract.

Other advisable files

In addition to the Flexible Working Plan, it is also a advised finest follow for employers to have some or all of the next paperwork in position:

  1. Workflow or guideline for HR/administration: This is a private document for HR/administration-degree team only, and will set out assistance on how to tackle purposes. This will consist of placing out the pertinent persons-in-charge for dealing with, determining on, and responding to purposes, as well as the key concerns and pertinent documents. This is an significant advice document to make sure that the correct course of action is followed and the organization is not exposed to any lawful chance.
  2. Template FWA application form: This standardised software variety will be referred to in the Versatile Doing work Coverage, and personnel will be strongly inspired to use this variety when applying for FWAs. Possessing a template in area will make sure that all the suitable facts is submitted as component of the software, and also permits the company to remind workforce of the phrases and problems that will be hooked up to effective FWA purposes. If the Versatile Performing Plan plainly sets out the various kinds of FWAs recognised by the company (see “#2: The diverse kinds of flexible performing preparations recognised by the company” above), then the application type can include things like box-tick possibilities (for case in point, the staff can apply for “FWA 4: Modify of days of operate to Wednesday to Friday”).
  3. Template approval or rejection letters: Once more, possessing this standardised document in location will make it less difficult for HR/management and be certain that the company is not uncovered to any legal chance. The typical approval letter will listing down all relevant documents (for case in point, the FWA Settlement or compliance checklist) and standardises all expected variations to the conditions and conditions of employment. The typical rejection letter will consist of clearly-worded and lawfully-satisfactory factors for rejecting any FWA programs.
  4. Template Versatile Functioning Settlement: The objective of this document is to set out any changes to the existing employment agreement or phrases/disorders of work. No matter whether or not this has to be in the form of a different contract, an addendum to the work deal, or a simple letter of enterprise by the staff, will rely on the extent of the alterations expected.
  5. Compliance checklist for distant doing the job preparations: This is the self-evaluation checklist referred to previously mentioned (see “#4: Obligations in relation to confidentiality and wellbeing and safety” higher than) and is a pretty typical doc that companies who have staff members doing work remotely need to by now be common with.
  6. Template FWA termination letter: This template is to convey any FWAs to an close if expected. Obtaining this in spot will make sure that any lawful improvements that ended up implemented because of to the improve to a FWA will be properly reversed the place important.

Added benefits of making ready a Flexible Doing work Coverage and the other advised files

Though it is not necessary for companies to have a Flexible Doing work Policy or any of the other paperwork proposed in this write-up, numerous Malaysian companies are by now making ready these paperwork, and it is a suggested finest follow with a number of distinct positive aspects:

  • It clearly communicates the employer’s situation on FWAs to employees, and sets out the employer’s expectations of any staff who are thinking about FWAs, as effectively as the repercussions of FWAs these types of as alterations to payment and advantages.
  • Placing out the styles of FWAs recognised by the employer will enable to streamline the style of FWAs that personnel will utilize for. For businesses with a huge workforce, this is crucial to make sure that there are not also numerous variations in the variety of get the job done arrangements.
  • The standardisation and streamlining of the course of action will also help save a large amount of time for HR/management and produce much more certainty in the procedure from begin to complete. This considerably minimizes publicity to authorized threat for any probable missteps.
  • From a simple viewpoint, obtaining a apparent Versatile Operating Policy will also assist to make it easier to justify any rejections of FWA apps that tumble outdoors the parameters and circumstances set out in the coverage.

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