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Minimum wage for SMEs deferred [20-03-2013]  
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Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will not have to pay the minimum wage to their foreign workers until December 31.

However, the National Wages Consultative Council (NWCC) said these SME employers would not be allowed to make any deductions on levy, accommodation and other allowances from the salaries of their foreign workers.

“Only employers practising minimum wage will be given blanket approval to make deductions on their foreign workers’ salaries for levy charges and accommodation costs,” NWCC secretary T. Shanmugam said in a statement yesterday.

However, the SMEs have to abide by the law which requires them to pay the minimum wage to Malaysian workers.

The deductions for levy, he said, would be based on the actual levy fee, while a maximum of RM50 could be deducted per month per foreign worker for accommodation costs.

“However, depending on the circumstances, the Labour De­­partment will consider individual appeals for deductions of mo­­­­­re than RM50 for accommoda­­­­­­­­­­­­tion costs,” he said, adding that employers were required to inform the department via e-mail or post about the deductions.

SME groups had earlier asked for a grace period of at least two years before the Government enforces the minimum wage policy to allow them to “prepare for the ruling”.

The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) had later opposed to the requests to defer the National Minimum Wage Order, saying only individual companies in “critical status” or facing financial problems should be allowed to apply for deferment.

The minimum wage for private sector employees has been set at RM800 for those in the peninsula and RM900 for those in Sabah, Sarawak and the Federal Territory of Labuan.

Shanmugam said other employers, apart from the SMEs, could appeal individually to the NWCC secretariat if they faced any complications and wanted to defer implementing minimum wage for their workers.

The deadline for appeals is June 30.

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