HR Minister: Private employers cannot penalise employee that absent from work for vote

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 10): Private employers are not allowed to impose any penalty or make any deduction from employees’ salary for being absent from work to go to the polls, said caretaker Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri M Saravanan.

He said in a statement on Thursday (Nov 10) that the employers were bound by Subsection 25(1) of the Election Offences Act 1954 to do so.

The subsection states that every employer shall, on polling day, allow to every elector in his employ a reasonable period for voting, and no employer shall make any deduction from the payor other remuneration of any such elector or impose upon or exact from him any penalty by reason of his absence during such period.

Saravanan said employers should discuss with employees regarding the option of giving time off or leave to allow them to exercise their right.

He said employers could give reasonable time off for workers whose polling stations were located nearby their workplace.

They can also give a day off for workers who have to vote in areas located far away from their workplace. For employees who need more than one day to travel to the polling station, they can take annual leave, he said.

He added that employers could be fined up to RM5,000 or sentenced to a jail term of up to one year if they refused to allow their employees to exercise their right.

Source: The Edge Markets