The All New Malaysian Employment Act Seminar – 15th May 2017

The Malaysian Employment Act workshop was rejuvenated in the form of a new speaker. Ms Serene Yap, has given the workshop a new lease of life by bringing in more case studies, to stimulate engagement and intense discussions. 15th May 2017 was a red letter day for HRmatters21 as more than 20 participants embraced the event.

HRmatters21 took great pains in looking for a new speaker, including crossing the border to interview potential candidates in Johore Bahru. We received over 15 applications from all parts of Malaysia. At the end of the day, we decided to place our bet on Ms Serene Yap, who has a string of accomplishments over her 25 years’ of experience as a HR professional.

Said Mr Koh (a participant) “The notes are updated and current, which is what we are looking for, so that we could immediately apply, what we learnt”.

HRmatters21 organises the Malaysian Employment Act workshop, twice a year. And this workshop had been confirmed over the past five years. In recent memory, there has never been a postponement. We look forward to Ms Yap visit again in November 2017.

Book Launch cum 39th HR Sharing – 24th Mar 2016

Senior HR Consultant, Martin Gabriel launched his second book at the MHC Asia studio on the 24th of March 2016. Over 60 HR professionals attended the auspicious event. His decision to write a second book titled “Human Resource Case Studies” was partly due to the success of the first book. The first book, titled “A Guide to The Employment Act & Its Practical Applications” launched early last year, sold over 800 copies. According to Martin, he said “Many told me that they loved the three case studies from the first book, and wanted a book that was all about case studies”. And of course, Martin obliged. Over 200 copies of his new book were sold within 3 weeks after it’s launched. At the book launch cum HR sharing, Martin took a case study from the book and discussed the issues. The case was about a complaint of sexual harassment. The case was interesting and intriguing. The 39th HR Sharing was a regular event held once every three to four months. It is a platform where current HR issues were being discussed and debated. This sharing was similar to the 37th HR sharing as it incorporated Martin’s book-launch.

However, it was never complete without the usual guest speaker. Dayanand Menon, the latest inclusion to the many other illustrious consultants of HRmatters21, shared tips pertaining to payroll administration. Mr. Menon had already completed one run of the Payroll Administration Workshop prior to the HR sharing and received very good feedback, that it would be a lost, to the HR audience had he not shared such valuable tips. During the coffee break, many from the audience were seen surrounding Mr. Menon, asking numerous questions with eagerness to learn from an experienced mentor.

After the coffee break, Martin spoke about the latest changes to the Employment Act pertaining to the inclusion of 17 key employment terms and the mandatory issue of itemised pay-slips, with effect from 1st April 2016. According to the Ministry of Manpower, they will take a light approach and treat offences to the above as administrative and fines would not be more than S$200 per occurrence or per employee. There is a grace period of over one year for companies to adjust, and that enforcement action would only be taken from 1st April 2017. The book launch cum sharing was wrapped up with Martin signing autographs for those who purchased the book. We look forward to seeing you at the 40th HR Sharing.

By Michelle Yeo

38th HR Sharing – 6th Aug 2015

There was a heavy downpour on 6th of August, however more than 30 HR Professionals and business personnel turned up for the 38th HR Sharing held at 2 Bukit Merah Central.

First to take to the stage was Kevin Lee, a financial expert and associate trainer of HRmatters21. As we approached the end of 2015, numerous businesses needed assurance and knowledge application with respect to filing their taxations. One of the most confusing aspects of taxation pertains to benefits. Are benefits taxable? Kevin was there on hand to answer all questions. An area of concerned was outbound employment. Are employees deployed overseas with additional benefits liable for taxation in Singapore? As Kevin regularly conduct workshops pertaining to Benefits-In-Kind, he had no problems tacking every question, as most of the questions were of the same nature. Kevin was also generous enough to touch on tax equalization although it wasn’t a scheduled topic to be discussed. He just couldn’t say no to the participants.

Andy Sng from Payroll2U was our next speaker. Andy spoke about how fast technology has been changing and that payroll employees are finding it extremely difficult to keep up with new technological challenges, especially companies with numerous branches across the Asia pacific. Organisations that have various branches across Asia have had to grapple with multiple employment laws in order to process their payroll. Most companies prefer to decentralize their payroll administration or outsource it to a competent vendor. That’s where Payroll2U comes in. They are able to handle payroll for multiple different countries, and this increases productivity as it frees up time for HR personnel to engage in more strategic planning rather than being bogged down with chores. There is no need to speak to various HR representatives from different countries, all you need to do is to speak to just one vendor, and that is Payroll2U, and they will get the job done for you.

In between breaks, Martin Gabriel, Senior HR Consultant for HRmatters21 opened the discussion to the floor, allowing participants to bring up whatever issues they were concerned with. Some of the issues that were touched on included the higher compensation for workplace injuries and the Ministry of Manpower’s decision to increase the salaries of employment pass holders when applying for dependent pass.

As usual, we had our network session over coffee with light snacks. This is the time where HR professionals mingle with each other to share information and offer tips of best HR practices. Charles Wong wrapped up the session by sharing tips pertaining to compensation and rewards. When do we reward employees and what system could HR professionals consider implementing that would accurately measure an improvement in employees’ performance? How do we quantify it in a fair manner and how do we link it with the performance appraisal? Another wonderful and fruitful session had come to an end, as we look forward to the 39th HR Sharing.

By Michelle Yeo

Book Launch & 37th HR Sharing – 6th Feb 2015

It comes with no surprise that the turn out for the 37th HR Sharing was overwhelming! Everyone wanted to be present for the official book launch of “The Guide to the Employment Act and Its Practical Applications” written by Mr Martin Gabriel. With more than 20 years of experience as a HR Practitioner, Martin’s services due to his experience is very much sort after in the HR Community. Anergy Fun Engineers, a company that runs corporate activities, teambuilding and motivational games to bond staff and improve teamwork was also part of the 37th HR Sharing. They got everyone on their feet with fun games. Everyone was hyped up with full of smiles.

Make Health Connect (MHC) was also present to share about the services they offer. The 37th HR Sharing started off with a bang! Alvin from Anergy Fun Engineers, together with his team got everyone’s energy a notch up with really effective ice-breaking activities. Anergy started out with the mirror game followed by “pass down the message” accurately – game. Participants were supposed to digest a mouthful of words and repeat the same message down the line. It was hilarious listening to how the messages lost its originality and sounded ridiculous. Although the games were brief, it was a moment that was packed with non-stop laughter and fun.

Mr Lim Kai Chuan, the Head of Business Development from Make Health Connect (MHC), came in after to share with us on the services MHC provides. MHC taps on the possibilities of the continuous advancement of technology by creating a web-based medical claim system. MHC is the first in Southeast Asia to create such a system which has successfully linked up a network of 1000 clinics in Singapore and 550 clinics in Malaysia, and help companies, major insurers and medical providers improve their medical claims processing, efficiency, and workforce productivity by eliminating tedious paper work.

The Employment Act is not flawless. There are areas and provisions in the act which are unclear and contradict themselves or with other legislations. Mr Martin Gabriel who has a very vast experience in the Human Resource field and who is reputable for his knowledge in the Employment Act has spotted these numerous grey areas from the EA. Mr Martin discussed these grey areas with the participants in the 37th HR Sharing and also mentioned about the raising of employment standards in 2015, as well as possible new additions that may be implemented to the Employment Act. Mr Gabriel ended his very insightful discussion with his personal experience at the Labour Court and a brief outline about how rulings are conducted in the Labour Court, with reference to the act and his personal experiences. The session ended on a high note when participants approached Mr Gabriel for his personal autograph to be included in the book.

By Nigel Toh

36th HR Sharing – 16th July 2014

How does an organization ensure that there is co-operation amongst its staff? You have heard of excellent service to the customer, but have you ever heard of excellent service to the internal customer or your fellow colleagues?

Zainal Abidin’s presentation touched on a challenging issue that confronts almost all organizations. How does the HR Manager get every employee to work harmoniously with one another? Zainal identifies the so called ‘roadblocks’ that hinders co-operation with one another. Coming from a military background, Zainal is aware of the importance of teamwork. According to Zainal, there are several ‘roadblocks’ which hinders co-operation. Telling your fellow colleagues that “I don’t have the time” or taking his or her task as less important than yours is another ‘roadblock’ that fester animosity among peers. Zainal explored alternatives in effective communication that could help a better understanding and thereby getting the task done. “Always explain why you need assistance before asking is a good way of getting co-operation” said Zainal. HR professionals found his presentation to be of great value. HR Manager, Valerie Chin said “We could tell that his experience has brought about a higher degree of EQ which is important when communicating from person to person”

Section 43(6) Vs. Section 43(2) of the Employment Act

The 2nd speaker was Martin Gabriel, Senior HR Consultant for HRmatters21. Martin spoke about annual leave entitlement. Martin made a startling discovery when one of his clients alerted him to the Ministry of Manpower’s website which indicated that for a new employee, the annual leave could be withheld for up to 12 months. This was MOM’s interpretation of Sec 43(6) of the Employment Act which states;

“The employer shall grant and the employee shall take such leave not later than 12 months after the end of every 12 months of continuous service and any employee who fails to take that leave by the end of such period shall thereupon cease to be entitled thereto”.

Martin however does not interpret the clause the same way as the MOM. Martin is of the view that the clause merely allows an employee to bring forward their annual leave to the following year. He said that there is no option for annual leave to be withheld for up to one year and this is substantiated by Sec 43(2) of the same act which clearly states;

“An employee who has served an employer for a period of not less than 3 months but who has not completed 12 months of continuous service in any year shall be entitled to annual leave in proportion to the number of completed months of service in that year”.

He emphasized some key words from the clause, which are, “in any year” and “in that year”.

Martin wrote an open letter to the Manpower Minister, Tan Chuan-Jin. However, he received no reply and was disappointed that the Minister did not see such matters which concerned his Ministry as important. The discussion was intense as more than 40 HR Managers and Executives discussed the merit of the two clauses. Most found the 2 clauses to be in conflict with one another.

Last but not least was Andrea Chan, a professional counsellor who had her fair share of handling the emotional aspect of a retrenchment. Andrea shared her experience of using the correct words in such an emotionally charged situation. According to Andrea, we should be delicate and sensitive when speaking to an employee whom she identified as separated and not to use the term retrenched. HR Managers found her sharing useful as it deals with the heart, and not just the letter of the law.  

It was indeed a worthwhile HR Sharing. Participants found great value in just 3 hours. We look forward to the 37th HR Sharing.

By Michelle Yeo

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