KUCHING: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak has lauded the newly announced RM250 billion people-centric Economic Stimulus Package (Prihatin) which provides cash assistance to workers as well as wage subsidies to employers.

Its secretary Andrew Lo said the effort was commendable considering budget constraints.

“We are also very pleased to note that the government has rightly resisted some employers’ demands to allow forcing workers to take unpaid leave and to stop or reduce Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributions,” he said in a recent statement.

He said MTUC Sarawak supported the move to defer, restructure, or reschedule employers’ share of EPF contributions.

“This will assist employers with their cash flow. At the same time, contributions can be clawed back when things become better ― which we are confident they will,” he said.

He called on all employees to be flexible and prepared to perform other tasks during the movement control order (MCO), as well as to extend cooperation towards assisting their employers.

He also urged employers to sincerely discuss with their employees and unions to work out practical arrangements in facing this challenging time.

“We believe that most employees and unions whose employers have been good to them would volunteer to take annual or unpaid leave if they are assured of their jobs. 

“Good employers will also most willingly reimburse employees once the situation improves,” said Lo.

He said that resorting to threats and fear-mongering by some employers would be counter-productive and detrimental to workers, employers, and the nation in the long run.

The Prihatin package was announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Friday.