Sarawak govt urged to financially assist workers affected by Covid-19

Andrew Lo

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KUCHING, March 17: Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak hopes that the Sarawak government will emulate the federal government to come up with financial assistance for Sarawakian workers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

MUTC Sarawak secretary Andrew Lo opined such a move would assist affected workers and their families during this trying time.

“We call on the state government to emulate the federal government to come out with financial assistance for Sarawakian workers who are affected by the issue. This will lessen the burden on businesses,” Lo asserted in a statement today.

He reiterated that MTUC Sarawak noted the decision of the federal and state governments to restrict movement of people in a bid to contain the spread of Covid-19.

“Given the level of concern by some sections of the population, the government’s decision is understandable. We are very concerned on the impact of the decision on business and workers. Workers remain the most vulnerable.

“It is our view that employers must continue to pay their workers, whether monthly or daily rated for the period of the restricted movement. Employees who are quarantined should be entitled to paid sick leave. Otherwise it is a fundamental breach of the employment contract that would entitle workers to file for constructive dismissal and claim compensation as high as one month’s salary for every year of service plus back wages up to 24 months’ salary,” Lo explained.

MTUC Sarawak also urged employers to discuss practical arrangements with their workers during these challenging times.

“They (arrangements) may include paying their full salaries except what is covered by the government’s special payment of RM600 as well as those that may be claimed from the Employment Insurance Scheme.

MTUC Sarawak urged members of the pubic to abide by the government’s directive and measures to contain the virus.

“We remind everyone not to spread negative and alarmist news on social media that are not helpful and do more harm than good. We are confident that even though the number of cases of people tested positive for the virus may increase in the near term, fatalities will remain low and negligible when compared other causes,” added Lo. — DayakDaily