Retrenched or lost your job in COVID-19? How will this affect you?

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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of people to lose their jobs. Companies downsized and economies were badly affected. In Malaysia, the unemployment rate went up in 2020 to 4.8% and this is the highest it has ever been since 1993 which is very alarming.

Big impact on the livelihood

While the numbers are worrying, one can blame it on COVID-19 which impacted almost every type of industry across the world. With the recovery on the way, it might take a while before things go back to the way they were before Coronavirus. One of the biggest sectors that have been badly affected is employment.

So, what should you do?

Retrenchment happens when businesses are unable to stay afloat. Some companies need to downsize which means they no longer need such a large workforce. The main idea is to reduce their size of operations and subsequently reduce their cost. The pandemic has directly caused many companies to do this and it has been happening since 2020. Some 8.8% of the global working hours have been lost in 2020 which means more than 250 million full-time jobs have been cut. That is the sheer reality that is faced by Malaysians too. Some of the issues you need to know if you have been laid off include:

  • Termination benefits – Are you covered by the Employment Act (for those who do not earn above RM2,000 monthly). If you are, then you are entitled to certain benefits if you have been a full-time staff for more than a year. For those not covered by the EA, it is up to the employer to provide any form of compensation. Do take note that if you are paid a lump sum for this, it is treated differently under the income tax.
  • Government aid – The Malaysian government has put out the Bantuan Prihatin Nasional for those who have been retrenched or lost of income due to COVID-19. This includes a certain payment for single or households earning a certain monthly salary and below. Do take note of which category you fall under and how you can claim them which can somehow help you financially.

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