THEY WILL ASK thee as to what they should spend on others. Say: "Whatever of your wealth you spend shall [first] be for your parents, and for the near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer; and whatever good you do, verily, God has full knowledge thereof." - Al-Baqarah (2:215)

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

When taking leave means earning less

Whenever we have to attend to any non work related matters on a working day, we’d usually have to take leave from work. But at the end of each month, we’d still get full pay. Unless of course, we run out of annual leave and have to resort to unpaid leave instead. On gazetted public holidays, we can take a break, and if our employers still want us to work on a public holiday, they’d have to pay us extra.

Our worries are more about our annual leave – whether we have enough to spare or not. We don’t really worry about having our pay deducted. That’s because the Employment Act requires employers to give at least one paid rest day per week, 10 gazetted public holidays in a year, and a minimum of 8 days paid annual leave for every twelve months of continuous service for the same employer (for those employed for less than 2 years).

But I’ve seen my HIV clients worry every time they have to take leave because that would mean they’d get less income at the end of the month.

When I asked Lin if she’d like to join us for this year’s Family Day and bring her kids along, she said she’s very keen to join. But as I had expected, she’s still unsure if she should because her off days are Wednesdays, which means she works on Sundays. They don’t have annual leave. From past experiences of the other employees at her workplace, it’s difficult to get even unpaid leave from her employer. One lady wanted to take a few days unpaid leave as her son was getting married, the employer told her that if she doesn’t come to work during those days, she need not come in at all after that.

As an incentive, now the employer pays an allowance of RM100 to those with full attendance during the month. While Lin need not pay anything to join us for our Family Day trip, by taking that one day off, she still stands to lose out RM100. When every single sen counts, RM100 is a whole lot of money. She simply cannot rely on her ex-husband (Mr Darling lah, who else!) to give nafkah for the children as he only gives as and when he pleases.

It’s a tough decision for Lin. She needs the money, but at the same time, she never brought her children out for leisure and fun anywhere, and the Family Day trip would be a great opportunity for her to do so. I told Lin to think it over first, and then tell me her decision in a few days time.

Then if you remember my earlier posting about Mrs. K, she too had to take unpaid leave whenever she needed to bring her daughter to the hospital. She doesn’t earn much even if she doesn’t take any leave. In fact she’d have to work overtime if she wants to earn more.

Then there’s Hana. Hana works in a factory and works in shifts. Hopefully she can arrange for her shift not to be on that particular Sunday when we plan to have our Family Day as Hana too is interested to join. But while Hana’s employer abides by the Employment Act, Hana’s mother, who also works to earn more income for the family, doesn’t seem to get any benefits other than the pay at the end of the month. She works for a small business – helping to cut chicken into small parts. She and the other employees have to work EVERY day, not a single rest day in a week. No annual leave – and those who wanted to take unpaid leave would get 2 days pay-cut for each day they go on leave. The only off-days they get, albeit unpaid (with one day pay-cut instead of two), is on Hari Raya every year.

Chet! Gila punya employer! If reported to the authorities, this employer SURE KENA!

But none of the employees want to report. You see, to them if they report, their employer will get into trouble, the business may close down and they may end up without a job. They desperately need the job to be able to survive.

Yep, these are the kind of desperate employees some heartless employers tend to take advantage of.

Sigh…

12 comments:

Zawi said...

Pi,
Sometimes we don't realize how lucky we are until we know how others lived through life. Thanks for the story.

Pi Bani said...

Oh yes, some people already get both Saturdays and Sundays off, in addition to the many public holidays in Malaysia, and still complain about not getting enough annual leave.

We forget that there are people out there who gets bullied just because they are so desperate to earn a living...

ro said...

Hi Pi,
Is there any way that Lin can swap her Wed day off with another colleague? If she can persuade another kind hearted colleague to swap with her, then she will still be eligible for her $100 allowance PLUS an outing with her family on Sunday. Surely someone in the company can help out.

Pi Bani said...

ro,
I'm afraid that's not possible because Lin works at a restaurant which closes on Wednesdays and opens on other days including Sundays. So the Wednesdays off applies not only to Lin but to all the other workers as well.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

Eh, so cruel la their employers, particularly the one employing hana’s mother. Sure they are desperate for a job that doesn’t mean the employer can exploit on their predicament. Paling tak tahan boleh pulak ganti 2 hari with pay-cuts. Berhati perut ayam betul diorang ni.

maklang said...

susah kak nak dapat employee yang kisah kan kita...maklang ni dah 1.5 bulan kat rumah sakit lepas operate, boss buat tak kisah pun...call tidak, bertanya kabar pun tidak...

tak apalah..nasib baik ada kawan2 di sekeliling!

Pi Bani said...

Kerp,
Hati perut ayam pun lagi baiklah I think...

This is what happens when the employers are jenis yang cuma nampak $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ without considering the hardship of the workers.

Pi Bani said...

Maklang,
I'm an employer myself, tapi small company ajelah. Staff cuma 4 orang so senanglah nak ambik tahu kebajikan masing-masing.

Maklang kerja kat company yang ramai staff kot? Still, kurang-kurangnya hantarlah get well soon wishes ke apa ke kan?

Tapi memang betul, kawan-kawan di sekeliling kitalah jadi penguat semangat kita.

Monster Mom said...

Pannnn tai dalam punya employer...

These things are happening all around Malaysia and when we say it out, people will say it's normal.

No it's not....something has to be done but it may take years...

Pi Bani said...

Monster Mom,
To me it's not normal... kot ya pun adalah hati perut sikit! These employers, no matter how small the business is, need to be brainwashed lah I think! Imagine themselves working for others, ada hal perlu sangat-sangat cuti, how would they themselves feel if their employer buat kat diorang macam tu?

Tapi ye lah, kalau asyik pikirkan diri sendiri aje tak nak pikir hal orang, susah lah sikit.

Salt & Turmeric said...

kat sini pun sama Pi. not saying tht its ok coz it sucks. michael nyer old employer dulu +- camtulah. sikit2 kena ambik unpaid leave. sakit pun kena ambik unpaid leave. dahlah kena kerja 10/day & 6/week.

1 good thing here is tht if u work more than 40hrs/week it must be paid as an o/t. tht one employer memang takleh main2.

Pi Bani said...

Farina,
Problem is that while the Employment Act is there, implementation ada sikit kureng lah. Bila ada orang report baru take action. Kalau employee tak nak report, selamatlah employer tu!