PETALING JAYA | In the new normal, employers should provide employees with equipment and an Internet connection if they are required to work from home (WFH), says Malaysia Trade Union Congress (MTUC) president Datuk Abdul Halim Mansor.

Abdul Halim, supporting the WFM order, said an area which needed attention was the employer’s responsibility of providing employees with the equipment and facilities needed to work from home, including a high-speed Internet connection.

“The existing social and labour laws should also continue to protect employees. Employers should not abuse their employees working from home by getting them to work the entire day, as they are entitled to work breaks,” he said on Wednesday (Oct 21).

He also said that employees should also have a dedicated space in their homes to work and ensure cameras on their devices are switched on to allow for supervision.

“The WFH concept must be accepted as part of the new norm by both employers and employees. It will benefit both parties and is now being practised in developed countries,” he added.

Among the benefits, he said, is that professionals who were forced to resign their jobs to look after their children, may be able to seek reemployment given the opportunity.

He also said that companies could be able to make indirect savings as they no longer needed to spend on physical office expansion.

Abdul Halim suggested that MTUC and relevant labour bodies meet to discuss amendments to streamline current social and labour laws with the growing new norm of working from home.

He was commenting on the WFH order announced by Senior Minister (Security) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, which starts on Oct 22 and will be in place until the conditional movement control order (MCO) is lifted in Selangor, Sabah, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan.

He said those affected would mainly be those employed in management and supervisory posts.

This decision will involve 800,000 workers in various industries as well as close to 200,000 civil servants.

On Wednesday (Oct 21), International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said that a maximum of 10% of those in management and supervisory posts should work on site.

Public Service Department director-general Tan Sri Mohd Khairul Adib Abd Rahman also announced on Wednesday (Oct 21) that a maximum of 30% staff are allowed to be physically present at all public sector offices from Thursday (Oct 22).