A total of 99,696 workers were laid off between January and Nov 27 this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic but more than 58,000 were not listed under the wage subsidy scheme, Deputy Human Resources Minister Awang Hashim said today.
These include highly skilled workers comprising managers (13,109), professionals (26,079), technicians, and associate professionals (19,095).
“All of them, who earned RM4,000 and above (per month), are not listed under the Wage Subsidy Programme system meant to help those who have lost their jobs,” he said during the question-and-answer session at the Dewan Rakyat sitting today.
He was replying to M Kula Segaran (DAP-Ipoh Barat) who wanted to know why the human resources ministry did not include workers in the management category as subsidy recipients when statistics show that highly skilled workers made up 59% of those who became unemployed in the country.
Awang said that although the government had implemented various initiatives and economic stimulus packages as part of its efforts to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, lay-offs were inevitable in certain sectors due to factors that were beyond employers’ control.
He said the factors include the closure of businesses, downsizing, Voluntary Separation Schemes, Mutual Agreement Separation Schemes, critical financial problems, partial closure, takeover of companies, and relocation.
“Among the sectors involved are manufacturing, hospitality, food and beverage, wholesalers and retailers as well as construction and transportation,” Bernama quoted him as saying.
Awang said it was estimated that 75 percent of the total number of workers who lost their jobs were from the B40 group, earning RM4,000 and below.
Therefore, he said, the Wage Subsidy Scheme was introduced to help the worst-affected workers from that group.
However, those in the management category who had their services terminated are still covered under the Employment Insurance System Act (Act 800) subject to a maximum pay of RM4,000, he added.
“This means that workers, including those at the managerial level, will get benefits such as the Job Search Allowance,” Awang said.