Academic journal article International Journal of Islamic Thought

The Concept of Rights and Protection to Employees: A Comparative Overview

Academic journal article International Journal of Islamic Thought

The Concept of Rights and Protection to Employees: A Comparative Overview

Article excerpt

While it is the duty of the employees to work according to their terms of reference, it is also an undeniable fact that the employers have a corresponding responsibility to provide adequate protection to their employees. Protection to employee and their rights are clearly embedded under Articles 23 and 24 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR: 23-24). Article 23 provides that everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. Employees under the same Article has been accorded without any discrimination, the right of equal pay for equal work and in terms of remuneration worthy of human dignity supplemented if necessary by other means of social protection. Article 24 provides that employees have the right to rest and leisure, including limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay. All these provisions are not new under the Islam. This article will attempt to elucidate that the concept of rights and protection that is accorded to employees under the civil law structure have long been enjoined by the Shari'ah.

Concept and Framework of Employment Under the Civil Law

Laws governing employees' rights and protection in Malaysia can be found under the Employment Act 1955, Industrial Relations Act 1967, Employees Social Security Act 1969, Employees Provident Fund Act 1991, Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 and Trade Unions Act 1959. An employee is defined under Section 2 of the Employment Act (Law of Malaysia, act 265) as "any person or class of persons (a) included in any category in the First Schedule to the extent specified therein; or (b) in respect of whom the Minister makes an order under subsection (3) or section 2A". In the situation where an offer of employment is made by an employer to a prospective employee, the said offer being duly accepted by such person or persons, the laws governing the relationship between an employee and employer commences.

The Employment Act 1955 basically regulates the contract of service of an employment contract in the private sector by laying down the basic and minimum terms and conditions of the employment contract, setting out work, weekly rest day, public holidays, annual, medical and maternity leave as well as termination and lay off benefits. It must, however, be observed that the said Act applies only to those with earning not in excess of RM1500 per month or for those who are in the manual labor occupation (Act 265: 2{1}) . The Industrial Relations Act 1967, unlike the Employment Act 1955, offers a wider scope of application. It applies to all employees be it from the private or the public sector as defined under Article 132 of the Malaysian Federal Constitution and no limit is imposed in regards to the type of occupation.

Concept and Framework of Employment Under the Shariah

Under the Shari'ah there exist no regulations on employment in a codified manner. Basically, all issues were attended through the divine revelation of the Quran and Sunnah. Thus, the need to have codified employment laws did not arise then. Employment were relied upon the principle of 'ubudiyyah (total submission to Allah), mas'uliyyah (accountability) and itqan ( determination). Based on these principles the people were taught that the main purpose of employment apart from earning livelihood, was to seek the pleasure of Allah. The main objective of the "employees" was to seek the pleasure of Allah which was enjoined by Allah in Surah al-Dzariyyat verse 56 which provides that "I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me". With this direction in mind, the employees have the responsibility to work with sincerity and not to enter into wrongful personal gains in discharging their duties and be fully aware that they will accountable for their acts. Allah has promised rewards for goodness and punishment for wrongful acts be held in this world or the hereafter. …

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