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Employment Act to be amended following headscarf ban

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UPDATE (29/01/2018): New Straits Times has reported that between December 2017 and 26 January this year, the Human Resources Ministry has conducted inspections at 88 hotels, with the number of hotels having a no-headscarf policy remaining at 13.

“The ministry is taking this issue seriously and will continue to monitor a few other premises in this industry,” Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot affirmed in a statement, according to the New Straits Times.

“The ministry also held discussions with the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) on Jan 17. As a result, MAH said it is commitment to urge members to do away with the ruling against headscarf."

“MAH is also working with its members to include headscarf as part of the uniform," he added.

The ministry will to meet with the Malaysian International Trade Union Connection Council (UNI-MLC) today to resolve the headscarf ban issue.

The proposed draft of an amendment to the Malaysia’s Employment Act 1955 to address the issue of workplace discrimination is being finalised by the Human Resources Ministry, Bernama reported.

This follows news of a ban of women wearing headscarves as frontline staff in hotels.

Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem, Minister of Human Resources, said in a statement on January 13 that a proposal to amend the act was made after a discussion on December 5 last year, involving the Tourism and Culture Ministry, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry, the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia and the Malaysian Employers Federation.

He also stated that the Labour Department of Peninsular Malaysia (JTKSM) has conducted inspections and investigations in 74 four-and-five-star hotels around the country since last November to identify elements of discrimination, particularly dress code prohibitions set by employers.

The inspections revealed that 13 hotels had a no-headscarf policy during working hours while the remaining 61 did not set such policy, the minister added.

Discussions between the management of the hotels and JTKSM resulted in agreements to lift the ban, according to Riot.

The minister asserted that employers should respect their employees’ rights not only in compliance with existing labour laws but also out of respect for the rights of individuals, as stipulated under Article 8 (2) of the Federal Constitution.

ALSO READ: HR professionals weigh in on the hijab ban in Malaysia

Photo / 123RF

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