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Employers can apply to let go foreign workers early

LANGKAWI, 3 Feb 2009: Companies with foreign workers and are facing the economic crunch can now apply to let go these workers even if their service contracts have yet to expire, said Human Resource Minister Datuk Dr S Subramaniam. 

“I have discussed this with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and it is to help companies that are affected by the economic downturn,” he told reporters after opening a hospitality course organised by the Manpower Department here today. 

He said, besides this, companies that retrenched foreign workers could also reclaim any balance on levies already paid to the government.

Prior to this, companies were having difficulty retrenching foreign workers because they had to honour the contracts with their foreign workers while the foreign worker levy had to be paid on an annual basis.

Subramaniam said so far this year, his ministry had received applications from companies to retrench 9,000 workers of whom 6,000 were foreign workers.

He said till 31 Jan, a total of 15,000 workers were retrenched nationwide with most of them in the manufacturing sector.

He added that to address the problem of layoffs, his ministry had introduced re-training programmes for workers with the government absorbing the costs.

He said this was better than having employees asked to go on extended leave because of the slowdown.

Some 95 people are attending the four-month hospitality courses aimed at improving service standards in the hotel and tourism industry. — Bernama


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