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

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

Pursuant to changes contained in the Employment (Amendment) Act 2022 (“the Amendment Act”), which the government has declared will appear into pressure on 1 September 2022, staff members in Malaysia will be allowed to implement to their employer for a Versatile Working Arrangement (“FWA”). (For a additional thorough appear at the variations less than the Amendment Act, study my previously write-up: “Malaysia Work Act amendments: 7 key variations for companies to note”)

The introduction of FWAs below the Modification Act is the initial time that FWAs have been formally recognised in Malaysia, and may possibly be the first of numerous this kind of variations — the federal government has also shared that it is conducting experiments on the feasibility of a 4-day doing work 7 days. Malaysian employers can anticipate FWAs to turn out to be additional commonplace in the in close proximity to upcoming, and have to start off making ready now. Several of my customers are by now putting in place the necessary adaptable performing procedures and other similar files to not only be certain that they are not caught unprepared appear the 1st of September, but also to lay the foundations for the anticipated adjustments in the future couple of several years.

This short article sets out the essential factors that need to have to be covered in a Adaptable Doing work Coverage, and also other advisable administrative/HR files that businesses ought to strongly take into account placing into area to effortlessly accommodate FWAs.

What the Amendment Act suggests

The foundation of any inner files and procedures should generally be what is really mentioned by the legislation. The FWA provisions in the Amendment Act are quite straightforward. FWAs are delivered below the Amendment Act by the introduction of a new Component XIIC.

A new Section 60P states that an staff could utilize to an employer for a flexible doing the job arrangement to fluctuate the —

  • hours of operate
  • days of get the job done or
  • spot of operate,

in relation to his employment.

The software procedure is established out in a new Section 60Q, which states that:

  • The employee’s versatile working arrangement software will have to be in writing “and in the sort and way as could be identified by the Director General” (for now, no path has been built relating to the type/way of the software).
  • The employer should approve or refuse the application within 60 times from the date the software is received, and notify the worker in writing of the conclusion.
  • If the application is refused, the employer need to condition the floor of this sort of refusal.

Consequently, these are the crucial legal factors which ought to be covered by any interior insurance policies, and which will then be supplemented by content to deal with several other practical factors.

Crucial details that need to have to be coated in a Versatile Functioning Plan

Even immediately after the Modification Act comes into force, it is not required for employers to set in area a Flexible Doing work Coverage. Nonetheless, introducing these a policy is a advised best follow, as doing so will present clarity for the management and workforce on what the employer’s situation is concerning adaptable working preparations. A distinct plan also indicates there will be certainty for all events on how FWA programs will be taken care of, and the Flexible Doing work Coverage can be supplemented by an inside assistance doc for HR/administration.

A Flexible Operating Policy can selection in complexity and size, from as uncomplicated as a couple of paragraphs on a solitary page, to a significantly far more thorough coverage. These are a few key problems which an helpful Versatile Operating Coverage ought to address.

  1. The applicability, scope, and effect of the plan: It should be clear from the outset which employees the plan applies to. This is specially important for greater and multi-nationwide organisations which are probable to have interaction workers on a wide range of distinctive work associations, which includes section-time employees, temp workers, secondees, and interns. The policy should really also condition that even though adaptable working arrangements are recognised by the business, this does not indicate that all apps for this kind of arrangements will be quickly approved, or that personnel are contractually entitled to this kind of arrangements.
  2. The distinct sorts of adaptable performing arrangements recognised by the business: Although the Modification Act generally will allow employees to utilize to range the hours, days, and spot of perform, an employer can give a lot more details through an internal Flexible Doing the job Policy. For example, the plan can determine particular arrangements these as short term FWAs (wherever personnel can apply for a FWA for a fastened time period of 3-6 months), or set change FWAs (in which personnel can pick possibly to get the job done Monday-Wednesday or Wednesday-Friday). The reward of expressly environment out the different forms of “company approved” FWAs is that it delivers employees with apparent options to decide on from, makes it possible for the business to have some manage in excess of the types of FWA apps that will be submitted, and also sets anticipations that FWA applications outdoors individuals alternatives are probable to be turned down.
  3. Any pre-determined problems or limits on flexible performing preparations: In addition to the certain styles of FWAs as pointed out in the past segment, the plan should also spell out the ailments or limits on people FWAs. For case in point, the business may possibly let an personnel to operate remotely, but subject matter to a limitation that the location have to be in the exact same nation or within just a unique length from the office, or that the staff need to be equipped to be current in the business for a monthly in-individual meeting, or be able to show up at conferences at customers’ offices. As a further example, the business might permit decreased functioning several hours subject to a bare minimum number of hrs for each week.
  4. Obligations in relation to confidentiality and well being and basic safety: Two big considerations that companies have when it comes to distant functioning are in relation to confidentiality, and well being and security. The Flexible Functioning Plan should really set out the expectations and obligations on workers who are permitted to get the job done remotely. The extent of these obligations will count on the certain purpose, information obtain degree, character of get the job done, as properly as industry-particular needs. Some employers may well demand substantial-level stability in relation to documents or materials to be in put in the employee’s remote workspace. For wellbeing and basic safety, there ought to be minimal specifications in conditions of devices and the ailment of the workspace (or the requirement to have a specified workspace), and some businesses may perhaps want to mandate a health and fitness and safety inspection, or a self-evaluation checklist.
  5. Prospective alterations to salary, adaptable working allowances, or other positive aspects/remuneration: Depending on the types of FWAs specified in the plan (see previously mentioned), it could be feasible to spell out facts of modifications to compensation as a final result of an permitted FWA. Alternatively, the policy can typically reveal that specific styles of FWAs will arrive with variations to salary or benefits — for example, a permanent reduction in operating several hours will necessarily mean that an employee’s present income will be diminished, and probably based mostly on a set components. For multinational companies, an staff who will be functioning in a various nation under a FWA may have to change to a different payroll spot and have his/her salary localised to his/her new place primarily based on the company’s pay scales in that jurisdiction. The coverage can also consist of specifics of any new allowances as a final result of a FWA (for example, remote business office equipment and established-up allowance), or any present allowances that will no for a longer period be payable (for illustration, travelling or parking allowances).
  6. The company’s expectations of workforce under a FWA: A detailed Versatile Operating Coverage really should also briefly established out the company’s expectatations of workforce who have been approved to operate under a FWA. This should really incorporate the essentials these types of as that workers with decreased doing the job hours are nevertheless anticipated to full their crucial deliverables, go to all scheduled conferences, and keep on to abide with the company’s procedures and procedures. It can also consist of particulars the place related, this sort of as currently being essential to attend a minimum number of on-site meetings.
  7. The application system: A critical element of any Flexible Working Plan will be the software and approval course of action. In addition to the typical applicability/scope area which was described above, the portion detailing the application procedure can established out other eligibility conditions. For illustration, the organization may make it apparent that purposes from workers in their probationary time period, or who are currently undergoing a PIP, will not be approved. This area can set out how apps can be submitted (preferably the company will also have a normal FWA software variety — see “Other recommended documents” down below), and the approval system. Wherever applicable, the plan should also reveal that any acceptance is conditional on the worker signing a Versatile Operating Arrangement or a supplemental document amending the applicable terms and ailments of their current employment agreement.

Other proposed files

Moreover the Flexible Working Coverage, it is also a suggested ideal apply for companies to have some or all of the pursuing files in place:

  1. Workflow or guideline for HR/management: This is a private doc for HR/administration-amount staff members only, and will set out assistance on how to manage apps. This will involve setting out the suitable persons-in-charge for handling, deciding on, and responding to apps, as effectively as the vital factors and pertinent files. This is an critical direction doc to be certain that the correct process is followed and the business is not uncovered to any lawful hazard.
  2. Template FWA application sort: This standardised software variety will be referred to in the Versatile Functioning Coverage, and staff will be strongly encouraged to use this sort when making use of for FWAs. Owning a template in position will be certain that all the relevant info is submitted as portion of the application, and also enables the company to remind staff of the phrases and conditions that will be attached to effective FWA apps. If the Adaptable Working Coverage obviously sets out the different forms of FWAs recognised by the business (see “#2: The diverse kinds of versatile functioning arrangements recognised by the company” earlier mentioned), then the software type can incorporate box-tick possibilities (for instance, the employee can utilize for “FWA 4: Modify of times of function to Wednesday to Friday”).
  3. Template approval or rejection letters: All over again, getting this standardised doc in location will make it simpler for HR/administration and be certain that the firm is not uncovered to any lawful hazard. The regular acceptance letter will checklist down all associated paperwork (for illustration, the FWA Settlement or compliance checklist) and standardises all essential modifications to the phrases and situations of work. The normal rejection letter will have evidently-worded and lawfully-appropriate factors for rejecting any FWA applications.
  4. Template Flexible Doing the job Agreement: The function of this document is to established out any alterations to the present employment deal or phrases/disorders of work. No matter if or not this has to be in the variety of a separate contract, an addendum to the employment contract, or a uncomplicated letter of endeavor by the staff, will depend on the extent of the modifications essential.
  5. Compliance checklist for remote performing preparations: This is the self-assessment checklist referred to previously mentioned (see “#4: Obligations in relation to confidentiality and overall health and safety” above) and is a relatively regular doc that companies who have staff doing the job remotely ought to presently be acquainted with.
  6. Template FWA termination letter: This template is to convey any FWAs to an conclusion if needed. Having this in position will assure that any legal modifications that were being executed due to the modify to a FWA will be appropriately reversed where important.

Gains of making ready a Versatile Doing the job Policy and the other suggested files

Whilst it is not obligatory for companies to have a Versatile Performing Coverage or any of the other documents recommended in this article, lots of Malaysian companies are now preparing these files, and it is a encouraged ideal exercise with numerous crystal clear added benefits:

  • It plainly communicates the employer’s place on FWAs to personnel, and sets out the employer’s expectations of any workforce who are thinking of FWAs, as nicely as the repercussions of FWAs such as alterations to payment and rewards.
  • Environment out the kinds of FWAs recognised by the employer will aid to streamline the sort of FWAs that staff members will implement for. For companies with a big workforce, this is very important to assure that there are not too several versions in the kind of do the job arrangements.
  • The standardisation and streamlining of the approach will also help you save a great deal of time for HR/administration and produce additional certainty in the approach from begin to end. This significantly cuts down exposure to legal chance for any probable missteps.
  • From a sensible viewpoint, getting a apparent Versatile Doing the job Plan will also help to make it much easier to justify any rejections of FWA apps that drop outdoors the parameters and disorders set out in the plan.