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deprived of family time
19/03/2008 18:10:43
Re: Working away from home

My designation in the organisation is as a Service Engineer. Earning above the scale of RM$1500 a month.

So i am used to staying away from home for periods of up to 2 weeks. Recently, the company has put me into projects which are now by the months. So currently, I have informed them that i want to be home at least once a month for at least 8 days, this varies depending on which part of the world i'm sent to. In this case, I am now in Sabah.

In the month away from home, i am working non stop even on public holidays. I have requested Leave in Lieu but they have not come back to me at this point. They are providing a RM$50/day for allowances.

My questions are:

1) If they tell me that i am only to go home for 4 days and not 8 days, is there anything i can do to protest to this inhumanity?

2) I am not getting overtime during the weekends and public holidays
that i work. Is this against labour law? they do give me overtime for other occations in work but chose not to in this case.

3) My employment letter states clearly that its a 5 days/week arrangement and if they tell me that i can only be home for 4 days, is there anything i can do to protest?

4) With regards to Labour Law protecting those who earn below RM$1500, is there anything to help those whom are earning above RM$1500?

5) I have been given a letter stating my overtime claims and that i am entitled to overtime but is the organisation allowed to pick and chose as and when they want to?

Please feel free to share any comments. I am in deep need of help as i feel like a foot rug right now. Motivation to work is low and it is lower because i have been deprived of the time i feel i am entitled to spend with my family. Thank you in advance.
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KL Siew
19/03/2008 23:12:04
First, let's compare notes. A long time ago when I got married, my wife (Government servant also) was in Penang and I was in Bentong, Pahang. I appealed to my big boss for a transfer to be with her and he sent to Kuala Kangsar, Perak, nearer so to speak. After a couple of years because of call of duty, they transfered me to Sg Patani, Kedah. Further call of duty, they sent me to Alor Setar, Kedah. And further call of duty, they send me to Kangar, Perlis, the "outpost". Family was in Penang all the whle. A couple of years later, they finally transfered me to Penang. By then it was near retirement age and I opted for early retirement and joined the private sector. So, how about this one? Fully retired in 2004 and I spent some time developed this web site to share my experiences, good ones and bad ones, with all of you out there, like what I am sharing with you now.

Actually there are a lot of people like you. They are employees working in China, Pakistan, Indonesia etc etc far away from their families. It is something you simply cannot avoid when you have to make a living.

The law can only do so much. When there is no law behind you on terms and conditions of service, you will have to protect yourself. Be a good negotiator and try to get what you are supposed to get. Meanwhile, try to gain experience. With many projects behind you, I am sure you will have no difficulty in getting job nearer to your family. Be patient.

So, I really cannot give very specific answers to your questions. It is more up to you. Meanwhile, keep proper records of what you are doing and keep copies of all the correspondence with the company about your claims, your reports etc etc. This may become useful one day.
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deprived of family time
21/03/2008 15:21:33
Mr. Siew, firstly i would like to thank you for your advice. I have spoken to a few people and all have told me to use my negotiation skills to come to an understanding with the company, as you have. I spent yesterday evening looking thru our Employment act 1955 under "Working on rest days" and realise that thats nothing i can do. But is it true that the protection under labour law is only for those under RM$1500.00? But a friend told me that that has been changed to below $5000.00.

Thank you again Mr. Siew for your fast response and advise.
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KL Siew
21/03/2008 17:02:16
Your friend might be having Section 69B in mind but it is not accurate to say the Act has been amend to cover employees with less than 5000. The First Schedule has not been amended so far to cover non-manual employees drawing more than 1.5K. Section 69B only gives power to inquired into complaints when an employer fails to provide what have stated in the contract of service for those with salary over 1.5K but less than 5K. For example, if your salary is not over 5000 and if in the contract of service your employer agrees to pay overtime, working on rest day and so on, you can complaint to the Labour Department under Section 69B when the employer fails to act accordingly. It is not because they fail to follow the provisions of the Employment Act but fail to follow what have been stated in the contract of service.
That's why I advised you to keep good records. For instance keeping copies of the time cards if you have overtime claims etc etc. This will be important as evidence.

" 69B. Additional powers of Director-General to inquire into complaints.

(1) Notwithstanding the provision of this Act, the powers of the Director-General under section 69(1)(a) shall extend to employees whose wages per month exceed 1,500.00 ringgit but does not exceed 5000.00 ringgit."

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