BUTTERWORTH | Employers can be fined up to RM50,000 under the Employment Act 1955 if they dock their workers’ wages or force them to go on annual leave, should they opt to shutdown operations following the water supply disruption in Penang from Jan 10 to 14.

Human resources minister Steven Sim said employers and employees can refer to the labor department if such cases arise for guidance and advice before implementing their policies.

Sim was responding to claims by some workers in the manufacturing sector that they had been asked to utilise their annual leave during the shutdown of their company’s operations as a result of the water cuts in Penang.

He was speaking to reporters after a visit to the Social Security Organization’s office (Socso) in Penang.

Separately, Sim said his ministry through Socso will introduce further measures to increase the number of contributors under the Housewives’ Social Security Scheme to 500,000 this year.

Currently, the number of contributors to the scheme is only about 200,000 since its introduction at the end of 2022.

“Statistics show that about three million women are full-time housewives in the country, so the current number of 200,000 is very low,” he said.

He said the scheme is not restricted to full-time housewives as working women can also contribute to the scheme with annual payments of RM120, which is only RM10 per month, subject to certain terms and conditions.