MONDAY | With 1 day more to go, we will be observing the fasting month of Ramadan very soon for 2021. During the fasting month, some companies prefer to observe shorter hours of work for Muslim employees as they may not be taking a break during normal hours of work.

As an Employer, what can or should you do? Below are some tips for your management to consider.

  1. Are Employees allowed to work continuously without having a break?

    There are 2 conditions to refer to in this case namely:-

    • That the employee is within the scope of the Employment Act 1955
      Under the S60A(1)(a) of the Employment Act 1955, it states that employees must be given a break of at least 30 minutes after every 5 consecutive hours of work. This simply means that if the hours of work are reduced and that the employees are not given a break of at least 30 minutes after 5 consecutive hours of work, this will be considered as a breach of the above-mentioned section. Furthermore, this would remain a breach even though if the employee consents to it. If the employers who would like to continue with this practice on reducing the work hours, in order to play safe with the law, please write an official application to the Director General of Labour. As this is a fairly common practice, the chances for approval can be easily obtained.
    • That the employee is not within the scope of the Employment Act 1955
      In this instances, it would be better for the employers  to issue an official memo or announcement to all employees notifying them of such a change.
  2. Overtime

As the normal working hours has changed, it will also affect the overtime hours. Do check on your texts or wordings used in the employees’ respective contracts or handbooks in order to determine the starting of overtime hours. In a nutshell, under the Employment Act 1955, please note that the overtime is payable after 8 hours of work.