PETALING JAYA | It is insubordination if employees refuse to return to work in the office after a spell of work-from-home routine during the various movement control orders (MCO).

Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan (pix) said employees can request to work from home but they cannot insist on it.

“Some companies are still allowing their people to work from home because they are not fully operational yet,” he told theSun yesterday.

“Some are doing it because they still want to maintain social distancing at the work place.”

He said there are also companies facing a lack of demand for their products and they do not need all their employees to be present in the office.

Shamsuddin noted that not all jobs will allow people to work from home as some require their physical presence at the work place.

However, it is the employers’ right to decide whether their staff is required to return to their offices for work, Shamsuddin added.

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general J. Solomon said an understanding between employee and employer is necessary if the work-from-home plan is to continue.

He said there is no law at present on the issue and the only reason it was allowed was due to the MCO.

“Some employers don’t mind their workers continuing to work from home until they are ready to meet the government’s SOP (standard operating procedures).

“If the work-from-home idea is to continue, it must be beneficial to both sides,” he added.

Solomon said the employer needs to provide the necessary equipment to ensure a person can continue to work from home.

Electrical & Electronic manufacturing company Flex, which has about 15,000 staff here, had encouraged most of its non-production staff to work from home during the MCO.

“Our non-production staff accounts for about 10% of our total staff,” a spokesman said.

“Throughout the MCO, despite working from home, I was told that productivity levels were unaffected and were good.”