36th HR Sharing

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