1. Legally, under the Employment Act 1955, employees are entitled to paid holidays on:
(a) 11 of the gazetted public holidays; and
(b) Any special days appointed as public holidays pursuant to Section 8 of the Holidays Act 1951.
2. Out of the 11 gazetted public holidays:
(a) 5 are mandatory; and
(b) 6 are to be decided by employers.
3. The 5 mandatory gazetted public holidays are:
(a) National Day / Merdeka;
(b) Birthday of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong;
(c) Birthday of the Ruler/Yang di-Pertua Negeri or the Federal Territory Day;
(d) Workers’ Day / Labour Day; and
(e) Malaysia Day.
4. For the remaining 6 gazetted public holidays, employers can choose from:
(a) The remaining Federal public holidays; and/or
(b) State public holidays.
5. The remaining Federal public holidays are as follows:
(a) Birthday of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w);
(b) Chinese New Year;
(c) Wesak Day;
(d) Hari Raya Puasa;
(e) Hari Raya Haji;
(g) Christmas Day; and
(h) Awal Muharam.
6. The State public holidays would depend on each state.
For Selangor, its State public holidays in 2023 are:
(a) New Year’s Day;
(b) Thaipusam; and
(c) Nuzul Al-Quran.
Note: The birthday of the Sultan of Selangor is also a State public holiday in Selangor but it is excluded from this paragraph for the purposes of this article as the birthday of the Sultan of Selangor is a mandatory public holiday [see paragraph 3(c) above]
The full list of Federal and State public holidays (for each state) for 2023 can be found on the Cabinet’s website.
7. Where special days are appointed as public holidays, employees are entitled to a paid holiday.
An example of a special day appointed as a public holiday was 28th November 2022. The Prime Minister declared 28th November 2022 as a public holiday “in conjunction with the formation of a unity government and his appointment as the country’s 10th prime minister.”
8. Despite employees’ entitlement to paid holidays, employers can require employees to work on their paid holidays.
9. If employees are required to work their normal hours of work on their paid holidays, employees would be entitled to:
(a) their holiday pay; and
(b) 2 days’ wages at the ordinary rate of pay (for employees employed on a monthly, weekly, daily, hourly, or other similar rate of pay).
Note: Paragraph 9(b), however, does not apply to employees whose wages exceed RM4,000.00 a month.
10. If employees are required to work overtime on their paid holidays, employees employed on a monthly, weekly, daily, hourly, or other similar rate of pay would be entitled to be paid at a rate not less than three times the employee’s hourly rate of pay.
Note: Paragraph 10, however, does not apply to employees whose wages exceed RM4,000.00 a month.
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 Section 60D(1)(a) of the Employment Act 1955
 Section 60D(1)(b) of the Employment Act 1955
 Section 60D(1A) of the Employment Act 1955
 This would depend on which state the employee “wholly or mainly works under” [Section 60D(1)(a)(iii) of the Employment Act 1955]
 See the First Schedule to the Holidays Act 1951
 States are empowered pursuant to Section 9(1) of the Holidays Act 1951 to appoint State public holidays
 Section 60D(3) of the Employment Act 1955
 This is the pay the employee is entitled to by virtue of the holiday being a paid holiday [see Section 60D(2A) of the Employment Act 1955]
 Section 60D(3)(a)(i) of the Employment Act 1955
 Section 60D(3)(aa) of the Employment Act 1955