Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Human Resources, Awang Hashim said that 99,696 workers were laid off between January until 27 November 2020 due to Covid-19 where more than half are highly skilled workers. According to the minister, the figure includes 13,109 managers, 26,079 professionals and 19,095 technicians and associate professionals.
“All of them who earned RM4,000 and above per month are not listed in the Wage Subsidy Programme (PSU) system that we provide to help those who have lost their jobs,” he said.
Awang Hashim was responding to questions as to why the Ministry of Human Resources had neglected to include management employees as part of the subsidy programme when statistics showed that 59% of the unemployment rate in the country consisted of highly skilled workers.
Workers lost their jobs due to the closure of business, downsizing, Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) etc
He further explained that although the government had implemented various initiatives and economic stimulus packages as part of efforts to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, layoff was inevitable in certain sectors due to factors that were beyond employers’ control.
Those factors include the closure of business, downsizing, Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS), Mutual Agreement Separation Scheme (MSS), critical financial problems; partial closure, takeover of companies and relocation.
75% of them who lost their jobs belonged to the B40 earning RM4,000 and below
Among the sectors affected are manufacturing, hospitality, food and beverage, wholesalers, and retailers, as well as construction and transportation. Besides, it was estimated that 75% of the total number of workers who lost their jobs belonged to the B40 group, earning RM4,000 and below. Hence, Wage Subsidy Program or PSU was introduced to help worst-affected workers from the B40 group.
However, those in the management category who have had their services terminated are still covered under the Employment Insurance System Act (Act 800) subject to a maximum pay of RM4,000. Meaning, workers including those at the managerial level who earned more than RM4,000 will get benefits such as the Job Search Allowance.