Utusan faces legal action if VSS compensation not paid in one lump sum: Mahfuz

PUTRAJAYA: Utusan Melayu (M) Berhad may face action under the Employment Act 1955 if it fails to pay compensation under the Voluntary Separation Scheme (VSS) in one lump sum to employees who took up the scheme within 30 days of their date of termination.

Deputy Human Resource Minister Datuk Mahfuz Omar said the Employment (Termination and Lay-Off Benefits) Regulations 1980 required that the payment be made in one lump sum.

The company could be fined up to RM10,000 for each case, he said in response to a report that the newspaper company would pay the compensation in monthly instalments for a year to its 800 employees who were offered the scheme.

“So far, we know the matter from media reports. The employees should be brave to come forward and make an official report to the Ministry because without the report we cannot take action,” he told a media conference after opening a Conference on Occupational Safety and Health here today.

Also present were Director-General of Labour Department Datuk Mohd Jeffrey Joakim, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) chairman Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye and Social Security Organisation (Socso) deputy chief executive (corporate) Datin Azlaily Abd Rahman.

Meanwhile, Mohd Jeffrey said his department had been informed that the newspaper company was still discussing with the National Union of Journalist (NUJ) to find a solution to settle the compensation payment.

Azlaily said Utusan employees who had been terminated under the VSS could apply for aid of RM600 a month for three months under the Employment Insurance System (SIP).

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“Under SIP, we also help them to find (new) jobs through Jobs Malaysia,” she added.

Last Saturday, NUJ, in a statement, said the VSS offer made by Utusan Melayu to its 800 of the 1,500 staff was insincere, dishonest and dubious.

According to NUJ, it was made in haste without discussing the matter with the union. — Bernama

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