Maximum Working Hours - Employment Act

Before 1 Jan 2023, the maximum working hours per week for non-shift and shift employees is 48 hours. From 1 Jan 2023 onwards, maximum working hours per week will be reduced to 45 hours, for all employees under the scope of EA 1955, irrespective of whether they are non-shift employees or shift employees. Apart from that, the other existing provisions in the EA 1955 that governs working hours and shift work remain unchanged.

Reduced Maximum Working Hours For Non-Shift And Shift Employees

This amendment allowed the law to permit that, by agreement between employers and employees, where the number of hours of work on one or more days of the week is less than 8 hours (for example, some employees are required to work a half day on Saturday or some are not even required to work on Saturday), on the remaining days of the week, the restriction of 8 hours may be exceeded; nevertheless, no employee may be required to work for more than 9 hours in a single day or for more than 45 hours in a single week.

There are 4 scenarios shared by Malaysian Employers Federation, 3 of which are for non-shift employees, and 1 for shift employees. With the understanding that businesses may have different working hours arrangements, the scenarios below are examples relevant to an average businesses:

Scenario 1: Non-Shift Employees Working On An 8 Hours Per Day (Excluding Break), 5 Days Per Week

  • This is within the requirements of EA 1955, because the maximum 8 hours per day and correspondingly with total hours of work per week of 40 hours is within the limit of maximum working hours of 45 per week.
  • Overtime limit remains at the maximum 4 hours per day on the working days.
Day Start Time End Time Working Hours Lunch Hours Overtime Hours (Max)
Mon 09:00AM 06:00PM 8 1 4
Tue 09:00AM 06:00PM 8 1 4
Wed 09:00AM 06:00PM 8 1 4
Thu 09:00AM 06:00PM 8 1 4
Fri 09:00AM 06:00PM 8 1 4
Sat
Sun
Total: 40 (below 45 hours)

Scenario 2a: Non-Shift Employees Working On 8 Hours Per Day (Excluding Break), 6 Days Per Week

  • While the 8-hour limit is adhered to for 5 days in the week, the Company can observe a further 5 hours on the 6th day, to ensure compliance to the maximum 45 working hours per week.
  • Overtime limit remains at the maximum 4 hours per day on 5 working days.
Day Start Time End Time Working Hours Lunch Hours Overtime Hours (Max)
Mon 09:00AM 06:00PM 8 1 4
Tue 09:00AM 06:00PM 8 1 4
Wed 09:00AM 06:00PM 8 1 4
Thu 09:00AM 06:00PM 8 1 4
Fri 09:00AM 06:00PM 8 1 4
Sat 08:00AM 01:00PM 5
Sun
Total: 45 (Max)

Scenario 2b: Non-Shift Employees Working On Less Than 8 Hours Per Day (Excluding Break), 6 Days Per Week

  • While the 8-hour limit is adhered to for 5 days in the week, the Company can observe a further 5 hours on the 6th day, to ensure compliance to the maximum 45 working hours per week.
  • Overtime limit remains at the maximum 4 hours per day on 5 working days.
Day Start Time End Time Working Hours Lunch Hours Overtime Hours (Max)
Mon 09:00AM 05:30PM 7.5 1 4
Tue 09:00AM 05:30PM 7.5 1 4
Wed 09:00AM 05:30PM 7.5 1 4
Thu 09:00AM 05:30PM 7.5 1 4
Fri 09:00AM 05:30PM 7.5 1 4
Sat 09:00AM 05:30PM 7.5 1
Sun
Total: 45 (Max) 20

Scenario 3: Non-Shift Employees Working On A 9 Hours Per Day (Excluding Break), 5 Days Per Week

  • By agreement under the employment contract, if the number of hours of work in one or more days is less than 8 hours, the limit of 8 hours may be extended to a maximum of 9 hours on the remaining days, subject always to the maximum of 45 hours per week.
Day Start Time End Time Working Hours Lunch Hours
Mon 09:00AM 05:00PM 7 1
Tue 09:00AM 05:00PM 7 1
Wed 09:00AM 07:00PM 9 1
Thu 09:00AM 07:00PM 9 1
Fri 09:00AM 06:00PM 8 1
Sat 08:00AM 01:00PM 5
Sun
Total: 45 (Max)

Scenario 4: Shift Employees' Possible Shift Roster Adjustment

“Shift work” is defined as “…work which by reason of its nature requires to be carried on continuously or continually, as the case may be, by two or more shifts.”

Employees engaged in shift work may be required to work for more than eight (8) hours per day, subject to the requirement or more than 45 hours per week. It is provided that the average number of hours worked over three (3) weeks does not exceed 45 hours per week.

Working hours may need to be adjusted to ensure compliance with the new amendments. This may include extending the lunch break, or what is termed as “period of leisure” in the EA 1955 so that the normal hours of work is 7.5 hours on six (6) working days a week. Companies will be liable to pay overtime if their working hours exceed 45 hours per week.

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3
Mon 12 12 12
Tue 12 12 3
Wed 12 12
Thu 12 12
Fri 12 12
Sat
Sun
Total 60 60 15
  • Total working hours over 3 weeks: 60 hours + 60 hours + 15 hours = 135 hours.
  • Average working hours per week: 135 hours/ 3 weeks = 45 hours.
  • Referring to the table above and as a further explanation of paragraph above, although a shift worker’s hours of work is 12 hours, no overtime is payable.