Workers in S’wak lose RM180 mil since Jan 2023 due to delay in labour ordinance amendments, says union

Andrew Lo

By DayakDaily Team

KUCHING, April 19: Workers in Sarawak have lost up to RM180 million since January 2023 due to delays in amending the Sarawak Labour Ordinance (SLO).

Sarawak Bank Employees’ Union (SBEU) chief executive officer Andrew Lo pointed this out, saying the undue delay has hurt the pockets of Sarawak workers who are already suffering from inflation and low wages.

“Sarawak has a labour force of 1.4 million people, and 40 per cent (600,000) of these are in formal employment. The median wage in 2023 is RM2,650 a month.

“The reduction in working hours from 48 to 45 hours a week would benefit all 600,000 workers in Sarawak. With a median salary of RM2650 a month, this translates into RM13.60 per hour. Three hours a week will total 156 hours x RM13.60 x 600,000 = potentially RM127 Million a year,” he said in a statement today.

According to Lo, about 20,000 births are recorded in Sarawak each year, and a conservative estimate of 50 per cent are born to those working in the formal sector.

He said that since the amendments will introduce 7-day paternity leave and increase maternity leave from 60 to 98 days, this will translate to 10,000 x 7 + 28 days x the median salary of RM100 (2650/26) per day = RM5.625 million a year.

He also said that the amendment would also increase the overtime qualifying threshold from RM2000 to RM4000. This means that about 200,000 workers who are earning between RM2000 and RM4000 will be paid for overtime work at a median rate of RM23 per hour.

He calculated that an average of 10 hours of overtime per month would equate to RM230 X 12 X 200,000 = RM46 million a year.

“It is imperative, therefore, for the State and Federal governments to get the amendments passed in Parliament and implemented without any further delay. Workers in Sarawak have been losing out every day.

“The amendments should be made retrospective to January 1, 2023, to prevent injustice,” said Lo. – DayakDaily