In an ideal working relationship, employers and employees should find themselves on the same side. When the company does well, both groups benefit through greater profits, higher salaries and bonuses, and a good work environment.
When the company goes through a difficult period, both employers and employees suffer as there are financial losses sustained, pay cuts that may be implemented, and retrenchments that may happen.
As with any relationship, it’s easy to take each other for granted when there are no pressing problems.
Salaries are paid on time and in full. The company can expand and bring in quality personnel to help in its growth, ideally reducing the workload and stress of individual employees. Companies can afford to be generous in providing employees’ benefit, from allowing them to encash their leave at the end of the calendar year, to providing extensive medical benefits beyond what is legally required in Singapore.
Alas, the ideal working relationship we all hope for isn’t always the outcome we end up getting. Sometimes, working relationships through no particular fault of any party, are strained – making it difficult for both parties to continue working together.
It’s easy to dismiss this as mere incompatibility. However, even those of us who may have worked at a company for long periods of time can find ourselves leaving on bad terms. The reasons may vary from a disagreement over how a company ought to be run, to excessive workload or pay dispute matters. When there are disagreement and no compromise on how matters can be resolved, it’s hard to mend the relationship.
Sometimes, personal circumstances change. Other times, companies’ circumstances may change, perhaps due to the poor performing economy.
According to a report released jointly by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Tripartite Alliance for Dispute Management (TADM) and Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP), Salary-related disputes have been on the rise since 2018, with 1.73 salary claims per 1,000 employees in the 1st half of 2020 as compared to 1.43 salary claims per 1,000 employees in 2018.
Salary dispute isn’t just about non-payment of basic wages. It also includes salary-in-lieu of notice – when an employer is required to 1) either give a notice period to an employee or 2) pay them salary-in-lieu of a notice period.
At the end of the day, a poor working relationship benefits no one. Employers have to spend additional resources addressing issues, especially if there a complaint lodged to MOM. At the same time, employees have to deal with the mental stress of not being able to move on even when the employment has already cease.
Find a neutral ground. In a bad breakup, nobody wins.
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