What are full-time hours? (Plus how to compute for overtime work)

What are full-time hours? (Plus how to compute for overtime work)
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 13 May, 2024

It is important to know about full-time hours and related labour regulations. This understanding can help employees receive fair treatment. It can also help employers comply with the law and promote job security.

In Malaysia, full-time status usually means working eight-hour days, five days a week, totaling 40 hours per week.

This guide can give you a basic idea of working hours, days off, and overtime laws.

Here's what we will cover:

Definition of full-time hours 

Full-time work hours refer to an employee's standard working hours. Many full-time and salaried employees work a total of 40 hours per week. This consists of five shifts of eight hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break. The usual schedule is Monday to Friday.

Some industries have different schedules and rules to follow. For example, a full-time employee working in the business process outsourcing sector may follow a shifting schedule. Some workers may start their workday during the afternoon or evening shift.

In health care and transportation, work-hour rules are crucial to promote employee health and service continuity. It is vital to know how to define full-time employment in your industry. This knowledge clarifies your rights and responsibilities as a full-time employee or employer.

In Malaysia, regardless of the industry, companies must still follow the Employment Act 1955 and the Employment (Amendment) Act 2022.

What are the legal full-time hours in Malaysia? 

Before January 1, 2023, the Employment Act specified that the working time of a full-time employee shouldn't exceed 48 hours a week. However, amendments to the Act in 2022 reduced the maximum working hours per week to 45. In most cases, companies adopt the standard work week, which is 40 hours (8 hours per day for 5 days a week).

Employers can set the schedule of their workforce. But they need to ensure the normal hours of their full-time workers do not go beyond the weekly legal 45-hour limit. Your work schedule can vary depending on the industry.

For instance, if you are in the health care or transportation sector, you may have to work evenings and weekends. Regardless, if you work beyond the normal eight hours, your employer needs to provide additional compensation or overtime pay.

The compressed workweek scheme (CWW)

The compressed workweek scheme (CWW) is an alternative work schedule that organisations may adopt. It consists of less than six workdays per week. This makes each workday longer than the standard eight hours. In the CWW scheme, the definition of legal full-time work is different.

The total number of normal work hours per week does not change under this arrangement. For example, a company with a four-day week may still have full-time workers coming in for 40 or 45 hours in total. This means a 10- or 11-hour daily work schedule. Going beyond may entitle you to overtime pay.

Organisations using a CWW schedule have a maximum of 11 standard work hours per day. A three-day workweek can be risky to implement for 40- or 45-hour weeks. This is because overly long working hours can lead to exhaustion and stress. Many companies that have a shorter schedule often follow a four-day week.

Do I get overtime pay when I exceed my full-time hours? 

According to the Employment Act, you receive overtime pay when you work more hours than your normal schedule. Overtime also applies when you work on your designated rest day or on holidays. Your employer should add it to the compensation you receive for working on said days. Knowing the rules and regulations regarding overtime work can ensure employees and employers uphold fair labour practices and comply with the law.

Eligibility for overtime pay

Although it has been amended to cover all employees, the Employment Act has some sections that only apply to employees who have a monthly salary of less than RM 4,000 a month. One of these sections relates to overtime pay. This means that only employees earning less than RM 4,000 a month are entitled to overtime pay.

Additionally, certain industries are legally required to comply with specific overtime pay regulations. Examples of such industries include banking, finance, insurance, road transport, hotel, and catering. In these industries, employees' eligibility for overtime pay depends on industry-specific regulations rather than their income levels.

The Act also mandates employers to provide overtime pay to domestic servants and gardeners who work beyond their regular working hours. These individuals must be paid the same overtime rates as other employees.

How to calculate overtime pay

woman writing on her couch in a yellow sweater

Your overtime pays changes according to the day you are doing the overtime. So, for instance, the overtime rate will be different for a normal day, a rest day and a public holiday.

Here are more details:

Overtime hours on ordinary working days

Overtime work is typically 150% of your regular hourly rate as a full-time employee. Here are the steps to compute your overtime and total pay when you work beyond eight hours:

  1. Calculate your hourly rate: Divide your daily rate by eight (your hours).
  2. Get your overtime hourly rate: Multiply your hourly rate by 150% or 1.5.
  3. Compute your overtime wage: Multiply your overtime hourly rate by the number of hours you worked above eight hours.
  4. Know your total compensation for the day: Add your overtime earnings to your daily rate.

Here's how to determine your regular overtime pay:

  • Hourly rate × 150% × number of overtime hours worked


So, if your regular hourly rate is RM 25.

Overtime pay is calculated at 1.5 times the regular hourly rate. So, for three hours of overtime, the total overtime pay would be:

  • 3 hours × RM25 per hour × 1.5 = RM112.50

Therefore, the total compensation for the day, including regular pay and overtime pay, would be:

  • RM200 (daily rate) + RM112.50 (overtime earnings) = RM312.50

Overtime wages on a regular holiday

Public holidays often hold national, religious, or cultural significance. They are fixed events that Malaysians usually celebrate or observe nationwide. Work suspensions are usual during these days. You still receive your daily wage even if you do not come to work on a public holiday.

If you work on a public holiday like Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Chinese New Year, Deepavali, or Merdeka Day, your employer must provide you with holiday pay. This is 300% of your daily rate. It means you receive an additional 300% of your hourly rate for each extra hour. The extra compensation is also applicable to surprise public holidays that the government declares.

Here's how to calculate your overtime earnings when you work on a public holiday:

  • Hourly rate × 200% x 8 + hourly rate x 300% × number of overtime hours worked


Suppose the regular hourly rate is RM 25, which increases to RM 75 due to holiday pay.

Overtime pay is calculated at three times the regular hourly rate, which is RM 75. So, for 3 hours of overtime, the total overtime pay would be:

  • 3 hours × RM75 = RM225

Therefore, the total compensation for the day, including regular pay and overtime pay, would be:

  • RM200 (daily rate) + RM225 (overtime earnings) = RM425

Rest days and breaks entitlements in Malaysia 

Here are the required rest days and breaks for full-time workers and the compensation rules for working on rest days.

Rest days and break periods

woman doing yoga

According to the Employment Act, employees should be allowed a full day of rest each week. They are also entitled to a 30-minute break after working for five consecutive hours. This break is not part of full-time employees' standard work hours.

Compensation for work on rest days

Rest days are part of an employee's work schedule and full-time benefits. These days are designated for employees to have time off from work. Regardless of whether an employee works a five- or six-day work week, their last designated rest day will be considered their rest day for overtime purposes. Typically, Sunday is designated as the rest day.

If you work on your rest day, your compensation depends on how many hours you work.

  • As a full-time employee, you should be paid half a day's wages if the work does not exceed half your normal working hours.
  • If you work more than half but no more than your normal working hours, you are entitled to one day's wages.


Say you work eight hours on a public holiday that is also your rest day. Here's how to calculate your rest day and public holiday pay:

  • Your daily rate × 200%

If your daily rate is RM 200, your pay for an eight-hour shift on a public holiday and rest day combo is RM 400.

If you work overtime in this case, you will receive additional hourly pay at a rate of no less than 500% of your normal hourly rate.

This percentage comprises the 300% rate for overtime work on a holiday and the 200% rate for working overtime on your rest day.

Here's how to determine your overtime pay:

  • Hourly rate × 200% x 8 + 500% of hourly rate × number of overtime hours worked

If we use the same example, your hourly rate of RM 25 is increased to RM 50 because of the holiday pay.

If you worked two hours of overtime and used the formula above, you get RM 250.

Thatis overtime pay after taking both holiday and rest day pay rates into account.

Your total compensation for the day is RM 650.

Employee rights and protections 

Both full-time and part-time employees have rights and protections concerning working hours, including:

Maximum working hours

Full-time employees have the right to work a maximum of eight hours a day. Consider any work beyond these maximum hours as overtime. These don't include breaks of at least 30 minutes.

Overtime pay

Full-time employees who work beyond the standard hours earn overtime pay. This is usually at a rate of 150% of their regular hourly pay. This increases to 200% if they work overtime on their rest day or 300% on a public holiday.

Rest days and breaks

Employers must give employees rest periods. These include a full day of rest once a week. Additionally, employees should receive a 30-minute break after five consecutive hours of work.

Enforcement and recourse

The Department of Labour enforces these rights. Employees can file complaints with the Labour Office if they believe there's a violation of their rights.

The Department of Labour investigates complaints and may enforce penalties on employers who violate employment laws. Employees also have the right to seek legal recourse through labour courts if their employers consistently violate their rights.

Employer responsibilities 

Here's a short list of employer responsibilities:

  • Work scheduling: Employers are responsible for establishing work schedules that adhere to the legal eight-hour working days for full-time employees. They should also ensure that employees have proper rest periods and breaks as the law mandates.
  • Overtime management: Employers must accurately track and compensate employees for overtime work beyond the regular hours. This includes paying overtime rates.
  • Rest days management: Employers should provide full-time employees with proper rest days. They should also compensate employees accordingly if they work on their scheduled rest day.
  • Compliance with regulations: Employers must comply with the Employment Act regarding working hours, breaks, and additional compensation. They should stay updated on any changes in the employment laws and make necessary adjustments to their work policies and practices to ensure compliance.
  • Monitoring and record-keeping: Employers need to maintain accurate records of employees' work hours, breaks, and overtime to meet federal government regulations. Regularly reviewing and auditing these records can help identify any discrepancies or areas for improvement.
  • Employee communication: Employers should communicate work schedules, rest periods, and overtime policies to employees to ensure they understand their rights and entitlements. Clear communication helps prevent misunderstandings and minimises disputes related to working hours.

By proactively managing their employees' full-time schedules, ensuring compliance with labour regulations, and fostering a culture of transparency and communication, employers can create a positive work environmentthat upholds the rights and well-being of their workforce.


man wearing a tie smiling at his desk in an office building

Understanding and adhering to full-time hour regulations is essential for both employers and employees. These ensure a fair and productive work environment. Eight hours a day is the maximum legal full-time working hours in Malaysia. The weekly limit is 45 hours.

By complying with labour regulations, employers can uphold the rights of their employees, promote work–life balance and employee benefits, and mitigate legal risks. For employees, knowing their entitlements regarding working hours safeguards their well-being and ensures they receive fair compensation for their time and effort.

In cases of labour-related concerns or disputes, both parties can seek legal advice or assistance from the Department of Labour or legal professionals specialising in employment law. Being well-informed and proactive in addressing labour issues can help maintain a harmonious and compliant work environment for everyone.


Here are answers to common questions regarding this topic:

  1. How many hours is a full-time job?
    Full-time jobs typically require working 40 hours per week. This is equal to eight working hours per day for five days. The specific number of hours per week can vary slightly depending on company policies.
  2. Is 37.5 hours a full-time job?
    While some companies may consider fewer hours full-time, such as 37.5 hours, standard full-time jobs typically have a 40-hour workweek.
  3. How are full-time hours calculated in Malaysia?
    There are two factors to consider when calculating full-time work hours. These are your daily schedule and the company's workweek. If you work eight hours a day over five days a week, the organisation's schedule for full-time employees is 40 hours.
  4. What are the maximum overtime hours in Malaysia?
    According to the Employment Act, overtime hours shouldn't exceed 104 hours in a month.
  5. Do all countries have a 40-hour workweek?
    No, not all countries consider 40 hours a week as full-time. This figure can vary among countries based on their labour laws and regulations. Even in Malaysia, a working week can be up to 45 hours.
  6. How do you count overtime?
    Count how many hours you worked beyond the normal eight-hour schedule. If your company follows a CWW scheme, consider what constitutes full-time work hours. If it is 10 hours, anything beyond that is overtime work.
  7. What is the difference between an off day and a rest day in Malaysia?
    Rest days are your scheduled days off from work. These are part of your work schedule. Off days may be in the form of holidays or paid time off, such as vacation time. You may need to request this time off work in advance.
  8. How do I calculate my overtime?
    Multiply your hourly rate by 150% for every hour of overtime on ordinary working days. For public holidays, multiply by 300%. You need to determine your hourly rate first. This may change depending on which day you work. If it is an ordinary day, you only need to divide your daily rate by eight (hours). If it's a public holiday, you may need to consider additional compensation rates.

More from this category: Finding the job for you

Top search terms

Want to know what people are searching for on Jobstreet? Explore our top search terms to stay across industry trends.

Explore related topics

Choose an area of interest to browse related careers.

Subscribe to Career Advice

Get expert career advice delivered to your inbox.
You can cancel emails at any time. By clicking ‘subscribe’ you agree to Jobstreet’s Privacy Statement.