If you are an employee as defined in the First Schedule and even if you are not defined as such but your salary exceeds RM2000.00 but does not exceed RM5000.00 you are entitled seek redress at a Labour Office if your employer fails to fulfil any term of the contract of service.
69. (1) The Director-General may inquire into and decide any dispute between an employee and his employer in respect of wages or any other payments in cash due to such employee under:
(a) any term of the contract of service between such employee and his employer;
69B. (1) Notwithstanding the provision of this Act, the powers of the Director-General under section 69(1)(a) shall extend to employees whose wages per month exceed 2000.00 ringgit but does not exceed 5000.00 ringgit
69D. Notwithstanding section 69(1) an order of the Director-General made under section 69B(1) or 69C(1) for the payment by or to the employer or employee of a sum of money as the Director-General deems just without any limitation of amount, may be made in writing.
From the excerpts of the law above, Sections 69 and 69B give powers of the Labour Officers to inquire into your complaint and Section 69D empowers them to order your employer to make good whatever that is legally due to you. There is no limit to the amount one can claim.
Stated below are some guidelines and what you will expect to face in the event that you want to make some claims against the employer:
- You are required make a statement of claim on oath;
- Bring along a copy of the contract of service, if any;
- Bring along documentary evidence, if any. For example, if you want claim unpaid overtime, state when overtime work was done, copies of punch cards will be very helpful;
- After that you will be advised to wait for further notice from the Labour Office;
- That Labour Officer may contact the employer concerning your claim. If the employer accepts your claims and pays up, the matter is settled and you will withdraw the claim against him;
- If the employer disputes your claim, the Labour Officer will fix a date to hear your case in the Labour Court. The Labour Court is situated in the Labour Office itself and it is not a court of law like the Magistrates Court, Sessions Court. The person who hears and decides the case is called President Officer who is in fact a Labour Officer;
- Both parties are required to attend the hearing. The complainant would be informed by letter (may be registered letter) and a summons would be issued to the defendant i.e. the employer;
- You the complainant may choose to represent yourself, or by be represented by your trade union, by a lawyer or an official from the MTUC (if you seek their help);
- The defendant may represent himself, or by his lawyer;
- The Labour Court procedures follow the civil court procedures. However the law of evidence is not as strictly followed as in the civil or criminal courts. What concerns the Presiding Officer most is to get enough evidence to help him reach a fair and equitable decision. He is not too concerned about technicality;
- At the end of the hearing, the Presiding Officer makes an order either orally or in writing;
- Any party not satisfied with the decision of the Presiding Officer can appeal to the High Court within 14 days from date of decision;
- If the defendant does not appeal to the High Court and does not want to obey the order of the Labour Court, the Labour Office will assist to enforce its Order in the Sessions Court in order to recover the money. Employers might not want to disobey the order of the Sessions Court because if they do so, they can be charged for contempt of court. Other actions can be taken against a defaulting employer include attachment of his properties or even be put into bankruptcy.