Law review on homeworkers

Source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/5/19/nation/14285324&sec=nation

Friday May 19, 2006

Law review on homeworkers

By ZULKIFLI ABD RAHMAN

PETALING JAYA: Employment laws will be reviewed to allow more women to work from home.

Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr Fong Chan Onn said it was important for Malaysians to adapt to changes in working styles brought about by globalisation and technological developments.

To help women who want to work from home, we are studying amendments to the Employment Act and the Employees Social Security Act to allow women employees flexibility in doing their work, he said after opening a seminar organised by the Women’s SME Association of Malaysia here yesterday.

Dr Fong said the authorities needed to look at the definition of working hours for those working from home.

In this case, working hours do not mean time spent at the workplace. We also have to look at overtime clauses and flexi-hours, because these workers may start work at different times, he said.

The Employees Social Security Act will also have to be changed to offer protection for those who may suffer accidents while working at home. The study is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

He said the work-at-home concept for Malaysian women was still at the infancy stage.

Except for women who work in the garment and plastic industries in rural areas, not many female workers had adapted to working from home, he added.

On foreign maids, Dr Fong said his ministry would call for a meeting with heads of maid agencies soon to brief them on employers’ needs and to ask them to correct the negative perception of maids employed in the country.

He added that the agents would also be asked to charge reasonable rates so that employers would not be financially burdened.

Malaysia and Indonesia signed a Memorandum of Understanding last week for the protection of Indonesian maids in Malaysia.

About 310,000 foreign maids work in the country.