Enhancing standard employment contracts for migrant workers in the plantation and domestic work sectors in Malaysia

This paper was prepared for a multi-stakeholder dialogue on the use and application of standard contracts for migrant workers in the domestic and plantation sectors in Malaysia. The paper identifies areas where use and application of standard employment contracts could be strengthened to better protect workers, and includes recommended terms for inclusion in an employment contract.

Malaysia has made significant strides in the protection of migrant workers in recent years. For migrant workers in the domestic work and plantation sectors, however, levels of labour exploitation and abuse remain disproportionately high. Claims made by migrant workers include those related to restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, excess working hours, withholding passports and inadequate safety and health equipment. The use and application of rights-based employment contracts is a key factor in ensuring that migrant workers understand and are able to exercise their labour rights. In Malaysia, however, whilst standard contracts have been developed by the government, gaps in their current use and application have left migrant domestic and plantation workers without adequate protection.

The report has been produced with the financial assistance of the United States Department of State, Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor.