Saturday, February 7, 2015

1187. No free lunch - wrong assumption

Feb 8, 2015

"She will stay at home from tomorrow," the husband was unhappy that his wife received no pay for being present at the office. I had arranged for the Myanmar employment agent to come to my office to let the husband speak out in his Myanmar language as there may be miscommunications and a 3rd party is best. This meeting was held yesterday at nearly 11.30 am after a busy morning of consultations.

The wife had stayed in Singapore for one month. She got a Dependent's Pass from the Ministry of Manpower. But the approval to work will be given only after 3 months in Singapore. A Letter of Consent needs to be applied by an employer. So, she could not be employed. Neither do I need any new hires.

"Your decision is OK with me," I said. "The English people will say that there is 'no free lunch'. As a husband, you are the head of the household. You are the leader and you have decided."

So the wife stays at home waiting for her husband to come home, instead of acquiring some work skills, experience in computer use and understanding Singaporean English. The present generation of the Myanmar people had graduated with a poor knowledge of English and computer literacy owing to its history. If they want to learn, they can do it in Singapore.

"I am the leader of this company and I have to make sure it earns some income to pay the employees and overheads. I can go bankrupt if I don't manage well. I make work decisions to make sure that the office is run properly to survive the competition. In 2015, there are over 70 vet clinics in Singapore and business per clinic must be lesser.

The husband understood the highly competitive nature of the veterinary industry in Singapore as he was here for over one year.

Some of my employees may not be happy with such decisions. I have explained again and again why I make the decisions to sustain the business. Employees want the best work conditions but they need to be realistic. They can always resign and join another company if they are capable and experienced.

"What is it in for me?" an employee will always think. "I don't care if the employer loses money or go bankrupt."  There is not always another job waiting nowadays for most people.     

My employment agent had spoken by phone to my vet assistant the day before and assumed that he was happy with her explanation. Yet I don't think so and wanted a face-to-face meeting today, Saturday. This gives the employee a chance to voice out his side of the story as regards his wife's employment situation. The agent had already told him and he was aware that there would be no employment for the first 3 months after getting a Dependent's Pass. His wife was free to stay at home all day long.

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