Ah, 24 April 2017. The joke is that if there is any moment in time that employees are extremely efficient, it is when they are attuned to any announcement(s) / declaration(s) of public holidays. It is the employees who inform the HR departments about the holidays before the HR Department knows about it themselves!
24 April 2017 was announced to be a public holiday, to mark the occasion of the installation of Sultan Muhammad V as the Yang diPertuan Agong. The announcement was made on 3 April 2017. This was followed up by a very misleading online article which stated that employers stand to be fined RM10,000.00 if employers do not give the employees a day off on 24 April 2017.
Let us look at the provision in the Employment Act.
Section 60D states that every employee is entitled to 11 gazetted public holidays.
(a) Out of the 11, 5 MUST BE-
1) National Day
2) Birthday of Yang di-Pertuan Agong
3) Birthday of the Ruler or the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, as the case may be, or FT Day- (employee has to be working in the state)
4) Labour Day
5) Malaysia Day.
These 5 are compulsory holidays and CANNOT BE SUBSTITUTED.
(b) In addition to the 5 above, those other holidays declared to be a public holiday under s. 8 of the Holidays Act 1951. THIS CAN BE SUBSTITUTED. The public holiday of 24 April 2017 was declared pursuant to this law.
Q: In the context of 24 April 2017, what does this mean?
A: employees can be required to work on 24 April 2017. Either the employee is paid his holiday rate of pay as per the EA, or given another holiday in substitution.
Q: What about the RM10,000 fine?
A: It is only when the employer is found to have contravened the EA provisions relating to holidays and payments in relation thereto / substitution of the holiday that there is a possibility of being fined. There would be no contravention if: the employee is paid his holiday rate of pay as per the EA, or given another holiday in substitution.
NOTE:- this applies to those who fall under the EA. For non-EA employees, it depends on whether the company observes the holidays and on what is stated in the employment contract.