Be more generous to your workers, firms told
Employment Order 2009
Employers have been encouraged to give employees more than the minimum terms and conditions of employment stipulated in the Employment Order 2009 launched yesterday.
Minister of Home Affairs Pehin Orang Kaya Johan Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Adanan Begawan Pehin Siraja Khatib Dato Seri Setia Hj Md Yusof said that the new Order, which came into effect on September 3, hopes to increase the transparency of the rights and responsibilities of both the employee and employer.
"(The Order) stipulates the minimum requirements in employment. In this respect, His Majesty's Government encourages all employers to be more generous and responsible in safeguarding the welfare and well-being of their workers, aside from (being generous in fulfilling) the employment conditions underlined in the Order," he said.
By doing this, the minister said that it could provide an incentive for employees to work longer and discourage them from job-hopping.
The trend in the country's working environment is that the turnover rate is high for Bruneians switching from private to the public sector, said a Labour Department officer.The minister said that by being generous, employers could be able to decrease the number of people switching to government and retain them.
"By implementing good labour practices, it will indeed decrease the turnover of taking in new workers, particularly local employees, into an organisation," he added.
The new employment order replaces the Labour Act 1955, which has governed the country's working environment for the past 45 years and its jurisdiction legally limited to only manual labourers.
The Employment Order 2009 protects all persons who are employed under a contract of service, which may be written or implied, but excludes seaman, domestic servants and any person employed in a managerial, executive or confidential position.Civil servants and all employees of statutory bodies are also excluded. Both local and foreign employees are covered by the Order.
The minister said that labour-related issues are becoming more challenging and complex, and have attracted greater global attention from international and regional bodies such as the United Nations, Asean and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
He said that the 1955 Labour Act was no longer relevant nor suitable to today's situation and development, and thus, needed to be updated. Following a review of the Act, site visits and surveys conducted by labour officers and feedback from employers and representatives of workers, as well as referencing the labour legislation of neighbouring countries and ILO standards, the Labour Department working alongside the Attorney General's Chambers drafted the Employment Order 2009.
"This Order is aimed to further ensure the welfare, well-being, safety and protection of employees' rights in this country to a more comprehensive and systematic level, which is based on good practices and considers the standards of the ILO," he said.The employees had to fulfil their end of the bargain as well, with the minister reminding workers to be more disciplined, dedicated and cooperative to contribute to the employee's own success as well as to the company that he or she works for.
Immigration laws also played a part in governing working regulations as Pehin Dato Hj Adanan highlighted some of the instances which the Labour Department and Immigration and National Registration Department have encountered, including abusing the use of foreign worker's permit and harbouring and employing immigration law offenders.
He also called on employers to ensure that foreign employees' welfare are looked after, particularly in aspects such as the provision of proper housing, on-time payment of wages and correct use of the licence to hire foreign workers."The aim of this is to ultimately avoid the occurrence of negative impacts, which can raise social problems and jeopardise national peace and security. Apart from that, we should together be responsible in safeguarding the image and good name of the country among international eyes such as the ILO," he said. (The Brunei Times)