Sarawak MTUC regrets fear mongering by MEF

Andrew Lo

KUCIHNG, Nov 30: Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak said it is irresponsible for an employer organisation to resort to headline grabbing figures that is out of context, while describing such move as “being typical and sad”.

Its secretary Andrew Lo said the Malaysian Employers Federation’s (MEF) claim of 264 available man days must take into account 52 rest days a year, average of 20 public holidays and annual leave entitlement of between eight to 30 days per employee per year.

“A lot of businesses are now operating on a five-day work week, meaning another 52 rest days in a year. Therefore, the man days lost due to sick leave taken by an employee is so much less.

“Going by MEF’s own figures that the 10.7 million-man days is based on 7.36 million workers, then the average per worker is just less than 1.5 days per worker per year.

“That is much less than Convention on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development (OECD) average of 11 days per worker per year,” Lo said in a statement today.

He reiterated that MEF should be proud of such figures instead of lamenting about a hypothetical and ludicrous loss of 22 billion-man days lost do not translate into a full direct and additional cost.

“A worker taking a day sick leave would not mean that the production, say, of a Proton car, would be less for that day. Usually other staff or colleagues will cover over his job.

“Similarly, a bank clerk on sick leave does not mean that the bank branch will serve fewer customers for that day.

“This also shows that the low labour productivity in Malaysia is not due to workers, as their sick leave is just 1.5 days per worker. It is likely to be due to employers’ business model and management practices,” he explained.

Lo, who is also the chief executive officer of Sarawak Bank Employees’ Union said MEF, instead of crying, should be proactive and visionary and train its members and employers to adopt modern practices towards a high value high productivity and high wage economy.

MEF president Tan Sri Azman Shah Haron said their study found that more than 10.7 million days were lost due to sick leave from June 1 last year till May 31, this year.

As a result, Malaysian companies suffer an estimated loss of RM20.71 billion in annual costs due to man-days lost to sick leave, he was reported as saying on Thursday (Nov 28).

“The average working days during the said period were 264.35 per year. Based on the 7.36 million Employees Provident Fund members, the average working days and the man-days lost rate, it is estimated that 10,700,888 working days were lost due to sick leave.

“This is an average of RM1.66 billion in cost per month,” he said at the launch of MEF’s latest publications. — DayakDaily