Good news for employees!

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian employees will spend at least 35% of the 366 days this leap year away from work. They will enjoy a minimum of 121 rest days, including weekends and public holidays.

This excludes their annual leave which, according to the Employ­ment Act 1955, is a minimum of eight days for those who have worked for less than two years at a company.

Employees who provide continuous service of between two and five years are entitled to at least 12 days while those serving over five years must receive at least 16 days.

Since three out of the 13 gazetted public holidays – Prophet Muham­mad’s birthday on Feb 5, Hari Raya Puasa on Aug 19 and Malaysia Day on Sept 16 – fall on Sundays, employees will get another three weekdays off.

State holidays, meanwhile, range from three to six days, with Penang and Sabah having the highest number of days and Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan having the least.

Employees are expected to use some of their annual leave to take a long stretch off during the coming back-to-back state and national holidays following Chinese New Year, which falls on Jan 23.

These include Federal Territory Day on Feb 1, Prophet Muham­mad’s birthday on Feb 5 and Thaipusam on Feb 7.

Unhappy employers have warned that this would result in a hit in productivity due to high overhead costs and lessened manpower.

Federation of Malaysian Manu­facturers small- and medium-industries committee chairman Tan Sri Soong Siew Hoong said he felt it unnecessary to replace public holidays that fell on Sundays with Mondays.

Malaysian Employers Federa­tion executive director Sham­suddin Bardan said companies would not be able to operate at optimum levels as many workers would be taking leave.