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

Pursuant to variations contained in the Work (Amendment) Act 2022 (“the Modification Act”), which the governing administration has introduced will come into pressure on 1 September 2022, staff in Malaysia will be permitted to utilize to their employer for a Adaptable Functioning Arrangement (“FWA”). (For a additional comprehensive seem at the variations below the Modification Act, read my earlier report: “Malaysia Employment Act amendments: 7 critical adjustments for employers to note”)

The introduction of FWAs under the Modification Act is the first time that FWAs have been formally recognised in Malaysia, and may be the to start with of several these kinds of modifications — the government has also shared that it is conducting studies on the feasibility of a 4-working day doing the job 7 days. Malaysian businesses can hope FWAs to turn into more commonplace in the in the vicinity of future, and will have to begin getting ready now. Several of my purchasers are previously putting in position the important flexible working guidelines and other associated documents to not only make certain that they are not caught unprepared come the 1st of September, but also to lay the foundations for the expected adjustments in the subsequent couple of years.

This short article sets out the crucial details that need to be included in a Flexible Doing work Plan, and also other encouraged administrative/HR documents that businesses really should strongly contemplate placing into put to easily accommodate FWAs.

What the Amendment Act claims

The basis of any inner files and policies need to normally be what is actually said by the legislation. The FWA provisions in the Amendment Act are quite easy. FWAs are provided less than the Modification Act by the introduction of a new Section XIIC.

A new Part 60P states that an worker may implement to an employer for a flexible performing arrangement to vary the —

  • several hours of perform
  • times of function or
  • put of do the job,

in relation to his employment.

The application approach is set out in a new Section 60Q, which states that:

  • The employee’s adaptable operating arrangement application will have to be in writing “and in the variety and fashion as may well be identified by the Director General” (for now, no course has been built about the sort/manner of the software).
  • The employer have to approve or refuse the application inside 60 days from the day the application is acquired, and inform the personnel in composing of the choice.
  • If the software is refused, the employer will have to point out the floor of this kind of refusal.

As a result, these are the important lawful features which ought to be included by any internal insurance policies, and which will then be supplemented by content to address different other realistic issues.

Necessary points that have to have to be lined in a Versatile Doing work Coverage

Even immediately after the Modification Act will come into pressure, it is not required for businesses to put in location a Flexible Functioning Coverage. Nevertheless, introducing this sort of a plan is a proposed ideal follow, as carrying out so will offer clarity for the administration and workers on what the employer’s place is concerning versatile doing the job arrangements. A obvious coverage also usually means there will be certainty for all functions on how FWA apps will be handled, and the Versatile Working Policy can be supplemented by an interior assistance doc for HR/administration.

A Adaptable Operating Plan can array in complexity and size, from as easy as a couple of paragraphs on a one web page, to a a lot much more complete plan. These are a handful of critical challenges which an efficient Adaptable Doing the job Policy really should tackle.

  1. The applicability, scope, and impact of the plan: It need to be apparent from the outset which staff members the plan applies to. This is notably crucial for larger sized and multi-countrywide organisations which are probable to have interaction personnel on a huge selection of distinct employment interactions, together with component-time workforce, temp workers, secondees, and interns. The plan ought to also condition that while flexible functioning arrangements are recognised by the enterprise, this does not necessarily mean that all programs for these types of arrangements will be automatically permitted, or that workers are contractually entitled to this kind of arrangements.
  2. The diverse kinds of flexible working preparations recognised by the enterprise: Even though the Modification Act generally enables staff members to utilize to fluctuate the hrs, days, and position of function, an employer can give much more information via an interior Versatile Doing the job Plan. For case in point, the plan can outline distinct arrangements these as temporary FWAs (in which staff members can implement for a FWA for a fixed time period of 3-6 months), or fastened change FWAs (where by workers can opt for both to work Monday-Wednesday or Wednesday-Friday). The gain of expressly placing out the various styles of “company approved” FWAs is that it delivers staff with clear selections to pick from, permits the organization to have some command in excess of the sorts of FWA programs that will be submitted, and also sets anticipations that FWA applications exterior those people alternatives are probably to be rejected.
  3. Any pre-identified problems or constraints on adaptable functioning arrangements: In addition to the precise varieties of FWAs as stated in the former section, the policy should also spell out the situations or constraints on these FWAs. For illustration, the corporation may make it possible for an employee to perform remotely, but subject matter to a limitation that the place ought to be in just the very same country or inside a precise distance from the place of work, or that the worker need to be equipped to be existing in the office for a monthly in-particular person conference, or be equipped to show up at conferences at customers’ places of work. As another case in point, the enterprise might let lowered performing hours topic to a minimum amount amount of several hours per week.
  4. Obligations in relation to confidentiality and health and fitness and protection: Two key fears that employers have when it comes to distant functioning are in relation to confidentiality, and health and security. The Adaptable Doing the job Policy need to established out the anticipations and obligations on workforce who are allowed to operate remotely. The extent of these obligations will depend on the certain function, information and facts accessibility amount, mother nature of work, as well as sector-precise needs. Some employers might involve high-level stability in relation to documents or materials to be in location in the employee’s remote workspace. For health and security, there should really be minimum specifications in conditions of gear and the situation of the workspace (or the requirement to have a designated workspace), and some businesses may want to mandate a health and fitness and protection inspection, or a self-assessment checklist.
  5. Possible changes to income, adaptable performing allowances, or other added benefits/remuneration: Based on the styles of FWAs specified in the plan (see previously mentioned), it may be doable to spell out specifics of modifications to payment as a final result of an authorized FWA. Alternatively, the plan can generally demonstrate that certain forms of FWAs will appear with changes to income or advantages — for example, a long lasting reduction in working hours will indicate that an employee’s present salary will be diminished, and probably based mostly on a preset formulation. For multinational businesses, an worker who will be doing the job in a unique place less than a FWA may have to change to a distinctive payroll area and have his/her income localised to his/her new place primarily based on the company’s pay scales in that jurisdiction. The plan can also include information of any new allowances as a result of a FWA (for instance, remote workplace machines and set-up allowance), or any existing allowances that will no lengthier be payable (for illustration, travelling or parking allowances).
  6. The company’s expectations of staff beneath a FWA: A thorough Versatile Working Plan need to also briefly established out the company’s expectatations of workers who have been approved to get the job done below a FWA. This really should incorporate the principles this kind of as that workers with lowered functioning several hours are still predicted to complete their key deliverables, go to all scheduled meetings, and continue to abide with the company’s processes and policies. It can also consist of specifics wherever appropriate, these types of as being demanded to show up at a least quantity of on-internet site meetings.
  7. The application system: A key aspect of any Adaptable Performing Policy will be the application and acceptance method. In addition to the standard applicability/scope portion which was pointed out above, the part detailing the application system can set out other eligibility conditions. For case in point, the enterprise might make it apparent that apps from personnel in their probationary period of time, or who are at present undergoing a PIP, will not be authorized. This section can set out how programs can be submitted (ideally the business will also have a regular FWA application kind — see “Other recommended documents” beneath), and the approval method. Exactly where relevant, the plan ought to also describe that any acceptance is conditional upon the employee signing a Adaptable Performing Arrangement or a supplemental doc amending the appropriate terms and disorders of their present work agreement.

Other proposed files

In addition to the Versatile Operating Coverage, it is also a proposed best observe for employers to have some or all of the subsequent paperwork in place:

  1. Workflow or guideline for HR/administration: This is a private document for HR/management-stage personnel only, and will set out steerage on how to cope with apps. This will contain environment out the related individuals-in-demand for dealing with, choosing on, and responding to programs, as properly as the key issues and related paperwork. This is an crucial assistance doc to make sure that the right process is adopted and the corporation is not exposed to any authorized chance.
  2. Template FWA software form: This standardised application type will be referred to in the Flexible Performing Coverage, and workers will be strongly inspired to use this kind when making use of for FWAs. Having a template in location will be certain that all the appropriate facts is submitted as part of the software, and also makes it possible for the company to remind staff of the terms and problems that will be connected to thriving FWA programs. If the Versatile Operating Coverage plainly sets out the various forms of FWAs recognised by the organization (see “#2: The diverse styles of adaptable performing preparations recognised by the company” over), then the software sort can include things like box-tick choices (for case in point, the personnel can apply for “FWA 4: Modify of times of do the job to Wednesday to Friday”).
  3. Template approval or rejection letters: Once again, getting this standardised document in put will make it simpler for HR/management and make certain that the business is not exposed to any legal threat. The normal acceptance letter will record down all linked paperwork (for case in point, the FWA Settlement or compliance checklist) and standardises all essential adjustments to the terms and problems of employment. The normal rejection letter will include evidently-worded and legally-appropriate explanations for rejecting any FWA programs.
  4. Template Versatile Operating Settlement: The goal of this document is to established out any modifications to the existing employment contract or terms/disorders of employment. No matter if or not this has to be in the sort of a separate deal, an addendum to the work contract, or a straightforward letter of undertaking by the staff, will rely on the extent of the alterations necessary.
  5. Compliance checklist for remote doing the job preparations: This is the self-evaluation checklist referred to previously mentioned (see “#4: Obligations in relation to confidentiality and wellness and safety” previously mentioned) and is a rather regular doc that employers who have workers doing the job remotely need to presently be acquainted with.
  6. Template FWA termination letter: This template is to convey any FWAs to an stop if essential. Possessing this in put will guarantee that any legal variations that have been carried out thanks to the change to a FWA will be appropriately reversed exactly where required.

Rewards of planning a Adaptable Performing Policy and the other encouraged files

While it is not required for companies to have a Versatile Performing Policy or any of the other paperwork proposed in this post, many Malaysian companies are now preparing these paperwork, and it is a advisable ideal follow with many apparent positive aspects:

  • It plainly communicates the employer’s situation on FWAs to workers, and sets out the employer’s anticipations of any personnel who are looking at FWAs, as very well as the repercussions of FWAs such as adjustments to compensation and rewards.
  • Location out the varieties of FWAs recognised by the employer will assistance to streamline the form of FWAs that employees will utilize for. For employers with a significant workforce, this is crucial to make certain that there are not far too a lot of versions in the type of work preparations.
  • The standardisation and streamlining of the system will also help you save a good deal of time for HR/administration and generate more certainty in the process from commence to end. This drastically lowers exposure to legal danger for any potential missteps.
  • From a sensible standpoint, obtaining a apparent Flexible Operating Plan will also support to make it less complicated to justify any rejections of FWA applications that slide exterior the parameters and situations set out in the plan.

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