4 of the Most Popular Staff Benefits in 2021, as Told by Malaysian Employees

Blog
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October 15, 2021
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By
Nicholas K

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenging situation for everyone — employers and employees alike. But as the nation begins to recover towards the endemic phase, things are beginning to return to a state of normalcy of sorts for many, and employers are now beginning to prepare for the return of employees in the physical workplace (find out how to prepare the workplace here). 

But as 2021 draws to a close, it’s also a time of the year for employers to step back, and consider their total compensation packages for employees. This includes remuneration (of course), along with a variety of other fringe benefits that can help to keep current employees happy and engaged — while sweetening the deal for potential recruits and candidates for the business. 

With that in mind, we reached out to our very own network of employees to see what the most popular staff benefits are in Malaysia! Here are 4 of the most popular benefits, as told by Malaysian employees. 

1. Flexible Benefits Plans

When we sent out the mini-survey, the benefit we heard about the most was flexible benefits. If you aren’t already familiar, flexible benefit plans essentially allow employees to pick and choose their benefits from a set of pre-approved programmes from employers.   

These can include health insurance, retirement benefits, or even expense accounts that allow for employees to make expense claims for a variety of pre-approved purchases. The latter, in particular, can be used to provide productivity tools for employees — an essential part of remote and hybrid workforces. 

Besides that, a flexible benefits programme also means that employees are given the flexibility (naturally) to tailor their benefits to their needs/wants. For example, an employee with more dependents may choose to weight their benefits package towards health/medical/family coverage; other employees may prefer to utilise their benefits in the form of productivity tools such as ergonomic chairs, or even paid e-learning courses.

2. Extended Maternity Leave

Maternity leave, as a whole, is a mandatory benefit for employers to provide employees who are covered by the Employment Act 1955. This means that it is a mandatory requirement for employers to provide at least 60 consecutive days of paid maternity leave. However, you should note that the Employment Act does not cover employees who earn monthly wages of more than RM2,000 — which means that you’ll need to rely on the terms within your employment contract.

However, many employees in Malaysia have suggested that maternity leave be extended to at least 90 days, including the Ministry of Human Resources. In fact, many private companies now offer up to 6 months of maternity leave, as well as flexibility to opt for an extended half-pay maternity leave — a benefit that is very, very popular to respondents in our survey. 

This allows (new) working mothers to take some time off to recover from the pregnancy and bond with their newborn infants — while continuing to receive a living wage. As such, if you’re drawing up a list of benefits to improve upon for 2022, be sure to look into the amount of maternity leave that you provide to your female employees. 

As for new fathers, there is currently no provision for paternity leave in Malaysian employment law. This basically means that new fathers will have to utilise their annual leave entitlements (or request for unpaid leave) if they require time off for paternity. However, many companies are beginning to offer paternity leave to male employees — although they aren’t usually as long as maternity leave periods. 

3. Medical Coverage

Medical coverage is perhaps the norm for many larger corporations, who usually offer coverage in the form of medical insurance to employees and their dependents. Understandably, this is also one of the most popular benefits for employees in Malaysia, as medical insurance can offer peace of mind to beneficiaries — as well as a way to ensure that your employee’s health is taken care of. 

Many smaller companies may not have the resources, or the headcount to offer medical insurance to their employees. While this isn’t an ideal situation, an alternative is to offer a claim-based expense account for employee medical coverage. You’ll need to set up a clear and comprehensive policy on this, including limitations, as medical charges can reach into the hundreds of thousands of Ringgit. 

In general, employee wellbeing should be one of the most important aspects of running a (successful) business. Taking care of your employees’ health is the root of that. 

4. Employee discounts

This comes with a caveat, of course. But where applicable, a benefit that is certainly appreciated by many employees is discounts. This means that when employees purchase products or services from their company, they will be entitled to a certain discount, or even freebies. 

For example, retail companies sometimes offer “personal usage” claims to their employees. This means that on a regular basis — quarterly, monthly, or yearly — employees have a set amount that they can use to purchase company products, free of charge. In addition to keeping your employees happy, this also helps to ensure that your employees are familiar with actually using your products/services. 

Meanwhile, businesses that do not offer a product/service that can be utilised by their employees (such as many B2B businesses) can choose to partner with relevant providers. This can come in the form of discount vouchers, or even promo codes to popular e-commerce platforms that are commonly used by everyone. 

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Keep track of all employee benefits with the HR super app, altHR

Now that you’ve improved your benefits package for your employees, you’ll need to keep track of everything — in one digital place. Enter: altHR, Digi’s HR super app. 

At the end of the day, the key to surviving — and thriving — in the new normal is digitalisation. With altHR, HR processes such as employment agreements can be streamlined and adapted to the Documents module — this functionality allows HR to publish and share documents with limited visibility to other employees within an organisation. 

You’ll also be able to revise documents on the go, and for sensitive documents, enable password protection to maintain the utmost confidentiality. This also helps employees to keep track of their important documents, with easy and secure access to their employment contracts, all within altHR. 

And of course, all of that works seamlessly with the other modules in the new normal, such as leaves, expense and payroll management.

HR professionals are often faced with manual, repetitive, and often tedious tasks on a daily basis — tasks that have become even more difficult to handle in light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation. 

But help is available, if you know where to look. Let us streamline your HR processes by managing and automating day-to-day tasks, so you won’t have to worry about things like paperwork, privacy concerns, time-tracking, or onboarding challenges.

Sign up for altHR, the all-in-one digital solution that covers everything from payroll and onboarding, to staff management and providing employees with information kits. You’ve done it the old way long enough.

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