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Salary withheld - Labour Case

Mon, 27 Oct 2008 10:06:05 PM  (Last updated: Wed, 29 Oct 2008 08:40:32 AM)

Dear Sir,

I worked for a company for proposals writting and administrative chores from Dec to April 2008. My salary for April was witheld. I would like to claim my salary back but i seem to face some difficulties, please kindly advise:

Some background info:

1) I started working on basis of 2 days/week on salary of RM150/day, whcih then was gradually reduced to 1 day/week during April. I worked for 5 days during APril.

2) I have filed a report with labour department and the case has infact got up to court level (my understanding is that after a letter is sent to the employer, the first meet up was supposed to be a meeting between the boss and hte employee with the view to sort out the issue in an amicable manner. If this is not achieved, then it will be brought to a court environment), as hte boss claimed that she didnt receive the registered letter.

3) During the court day, the boss initially proposed to only give me back RM 300+ as she wanted to deduct about RM400 for materials used during my service there. I rejected this proposal. And then the judge latter proposed a figure of RM 600 (The total salary to be claimed back is RM 750). We didnt come to a concluding point on that day, but with the issue to be discussed again at a later stage with another day fixed up for discussion.

I would like to know:

1) What are the chances for me to claim back my full amount under labour law. The judge has ever said that my situation is actually not covered under employment act as based on daily pay of RM 150, my monthly salary is more than RM1500 and so i am not protected under EMployment Act 1955. How correct is what he said? He mentioend things like contract for service" and "contract of service", things that confuse me. During the court, he has said that labour court is actually a wrong medium to solve this problem. How correct is what he said?

2) The judge has also said that if a mutual agreement point is not reached at a later heairng date (whcih is a trial), then the case will be passed on to high court, in which case lawyer engagement is needed. Is what he said true?

If there are other points which you need to know to help make judgement and which is not available here, please let me know.

Look forward to hearing from you."

KL Siew
Tue, 28 Oct 2008 09:06:10 AM

To me, it is a simple straight forward case.

Fact #1 : You are claiming RM750 for 5 days work at RM150 per day;

Fact #2 : The employer wants to deduct from the claim a sum of RM400 for "materials used". No indication she is disputing the amount claimed.

So, the issue to be decided is whether the employer is allowed to deduct cost of materials used from the claim.

About the Labour Department's power to hear the case, Section 69B of the Employment Act seems to give them the power

Tue, 28 Oct 2008 09:52:03 PM

Tks for your reply. Here are one point to clarify:

1) The judge has infact said to me on the same day that claiming for 'materials used' (things like nail polishes etc) is not something that should be raised in labour case. So he seems to have rejected this proposal from the employer, even though he has infact raised it up to me.

My questions are:

1) The judge has said that based on daily salary of RM150, my pay infact exceeds RM1500 and so he said that i can be out of labour department's protection. But here you raise a Section 69B, so can i say that my case is still under labour department's case?

2) As said in my earlier mail, the judge has given a figure to me (which is RM600) to settle this issue. He said that this figure comes from neither him or the employer, but it is just a figure to settle this case. Seems to me also taht he is taking a middle figure in between RM 331 (figure after deduction of materials used) and RM 750. He kept saying that whatever hte figure is it immaterial.

To me, this conclusion seems to be a solution that is made out of simply wanting to find a middle ground. Initially during hte trial, the judge (which at hte point of time when i filed for the case), has said that the evidence of proof will hvae to come from me. Now the employer does not denied that i have worked for 5 days and at rate of RM150, i am not able to get back my full salary.

I wonder which part of it that is making my stand week that the judge needs to do such middle ground decision.

3) Mr Siew, is this kind of middle ground finding a usual practice of Labour department?

4) The judge has also said that during next meeting if the case is settled (for instnace based on payment of RM600), i need to write a letter to withdraw this case. May I know what negatives consequences will there be to the employer in terms of business if i continue to proceed with the case?

5) The Director-General" refers to the judge in labour department?

Tks in advance for your help and time.


KL Siew
Wed, 29 Oct 2008 08:40:32 AM

It is not unusual for the officer to suggest an amount with the view to getting an amicable settlement of the case. Quite often the parties do want to compromise and do not want to go through the hassle of going on with the case. It is up to you.

If you accept the amount of RM600 as suggested by the officer, you will withdraw the case when the money is handed over to you. If you are not so happy about it, you can always ask the officer to use his good office to help you to get the full amount. If the officer insists you are not covered by the EA, then you may gently" point out to him Section 69B that you have read somewhere.

Yes, the Labour Officer (judge) carries out the duties of the Director General.


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