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10 days holiday entitlement??? Ridiculous or normal

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Lymeboy
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10 days holiday entitlement??? Ridiculous or normal

Postby Lymeboy » Sat, 13 Oct 2007 4:04 am

Hi all,

Quick question for you clever people out there. I'm currently negotiating a transfer from London to Singapore (lifestyle move, I'm Singaporean). Its taken a while but finally a package has been offered. Money is decent, a cut from my GBP amount but still a pretty good wage. I'll not be expatriating (coming back to London) so it will be considered a transfer, hence the localisation of salary (albeit at the high end of the scale).

Big problem is I was just informed that there will only be 10 days holiday entitlement in a year. I'm currently on 23 days (with a generous sprinkling of 'free holidays' during the year given by the company, summer fridays etc etc). Frankly, I have never heard of such a low entitlement before, all my friends across various industries in Singapore (law, pharma, finance, airline etc) get between 21 - 28 days per annum. I'm getting signs that HR is refusing to budge on that one, not 'wanting to set a precedent' and its fast becoming a take it or leave it kind of deal.

Thing is, I'll be going to Singapore anyway, with or without them, so would it be a cleverer thing to do to go with them anyway?

Any thoughts will be helpful!

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 13 Oct 2007 3:39 pm

Ridiculous? YES but welcome to your home country and why people are immigrating. :wink:

The MOM guidelines state under the employment act that a company must give a minimum of 7 days annual leave with an additional 1 day per year of service up to a maximum of 14 days.

What you negotiate with an employer is up to you. If you earn less than 1.6K/mo or are considered a workman then the employment act is the law and the company MUST give at least that. If you are not a "workman" or are supervisory staff then it's up to you and the company to negotiate. There are a lot of local companies that only give 7 to 10 days, with 10 days being the norm. Most MNC's (not all however) usually offer 14 days to start but again it may well depend on the level of hierarchy with the company.

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Postby Lymeboy » Sun, 14 Oct 2007 4:05 am

I'm being offered around SGD8K a month for a mid level post. I imagine the law was written to protect low paid workers/ foreign labourers etc from being completely exploited but I didn't think that a multi-billion dollar MNC would be offering 'barely legal' holiday entitlement to white collar workers.

I did speak to a number of my American colleagues and apparently, its pretty common practice there for companies to offer just a week (5 days) holiday for the first year of service and probably 2 weeks after the 2-3 year mark. Its mind boggling, do people pretty much camp out in the office? Guess Europe has the most employee-favourable labour laws/practices.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sun, 14 Oct 2007 10:59 am

Lymeboy

At the risk of getting flamed, maybe that's why productivity levels in Europe are what they are? However, I also am the first to acknowledge that you can get more work done in less time given the incentive for doing so is there. Here, even flexi-time is, for all intents and purposes, a non-starter here (with the notable exception of HP). Bosses want to see the bodies in the offices as they don't believe they are motivated enough on their own.

Also unlike the west, here you are not paid for lunch hour so you don't have the proverbial 9 to 5 job but 9 to 6. Course the average local also wastes about a half hour a day eating breakfast on company time and you can be sure that they will utilize their entire 1 hour for lunch as well (or more if you don't keep an eye on them).

Yes, the Employment Act is only for low-paid 'workers'. You are correct. The rest as I said, is up to negotiation. The problem is things like leave won't normally be negotiable because of pre-set company policies (oh, often times the head offices of MNC's are not aware of what is practiced in their Asian Subsidiaries. The majority of times the local HR departments are made up entirely of Locals as well with a local mindset as well. Even when the HR Director of a MNC here is an Expat, he/she will not always be aware of what the HR manager and their HR Execs are doing.

I am curious however, how long have you been away from Singapore? Since you graduated from a European University? I am assuming that you have never actually spent any part of your "working" life in Singapore.

You might want to PM one of our regulars, Makan24-7, for a reality check as well. He is Malaysian Chinese and recently (past year or so) returned from the US where he has spent a considerable amount of time. You might also want to see this thread.

sms

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Postby Lymeboy » Sun, 14 Oct 2007 7:10 pm

I've been away for just under 9 years now, you're right about never having actually spent any of my working life in Singapore, so I've had a 'soft start' in cushy European labour practices.

Also, you are right about HQ not being aware of what the Asian HR are up to, when my bosses saw what the Asian HR are offering in terms of holiday entitlement, they were all saying that 'it must be a typo'. It is simply beyond comprehension here.

Personally, I find that when companies trust and respect their employees, seeing them as assets rather than liabilities and potential thieves/ skivers etc, most of the employees rise up to the challenge, ie. when the time comes to stay late due to a deadline etc, nobody complains and people tend not to 'take the piss' (as they put it here). People tend to pull less 'sickies' as well if you don't have to constantly account for yourself to the 'parole board'.

Looks like I'm in for a bit of rude awakening heh?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 15 Oct 2007 12:20 am

Yep! :(

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Postby Superglide » Mon, 15 Oct 2007 5:17 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:At the risk of getting flamed, maybe that's why productivity levels in Europe are what they are?


Let me take the honours then to flame you... :twisted:

I would dare saying the productivity in Europe, especially in N-Europe is by far larger and higher than here in Singers.

C'mon brother, you and I know the effectivity and efficiency rate here, right?

To OP, my experience here is that for your level, about 18 days would be the standard.
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Postby Lymeboy » Mon, 15 Oct 2007 11:51 pm

Superglide: I thought it would be more as well, its gets a bit longer the longer you've been employed with the company, but I'm at the bare minimum cos I've been with the company just under 2 years, at the 5 year mark, it goes up to 15 days (nothing to get terribly excited about...)

oh well...

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Postby Asian_Geekette » Tue, 16 Oct 2007 2:50 pm

Lymeboy,

Welcome to the harsh reality of working in Singapore. :D :lol:

At least in the company I work for, we get 15 days per year (if you don't use it up til the 1st quarter of the next year, you lose it). Once we've reach our 3rd year in the company, we get an additional 1 day of annual leave for every year we stay in the company (hurray! :wink:). But there's a maximum cap to it. We can get only up to 20 days.
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Postby Lymeboy » Tue, 16 Oct 2007 5:03 pm

slavery is indeed alive and kicking! I'm the 'record holder' among my friends now, for least days of annual leave. I'm going to have to arrange business travel on weekends to store up on off-in-lieus...

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Postby SinghaPoor » Tue, 16 Oct 2007 6:01 pm

Lymeboy wrote:I'm going to have to arrange business travel on weekends to store up on off-in-lieus...

Does this mean that if you travel for example on sunday afternoon for business, you get half a day holiday as a compensation?

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Postby Superglide » Tue, 16 Oct 2007 6:33 pm

No, you don't.

Although there may be companies out there who say so, if you have an intense job, with intense travelling required, you would not start asking about compensation.

It's part of the job, simple as that.
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Postby SinghaPoor » Tue, 16 Oct 2007 6:58 pm

Ok :( That's what I would have thought anyway, but the last post of Lymeboy gave me same hope that I may have a few more weeks compensation per year because of weekend travels :lol:

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Postby Lymeboy » Tue, 16 Oct 2007 7:48 pm

I suppose this aspect is more informal and discretionary, if I travelled on a Sunday afternoon, I'll probably try to claim a whole day off! But my bosses are generally not too stingy so most of the time I get my way. Of course, if your job requires travelling as a key aspect of being able to do your job, and you travel pretty much most of the time, I suppose the rules are different.

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Postby newbrit » Thu, 18 Oct 2007 6:24 am

I was in a similar boat to you. I had an allowance of 26 days in the UK - and the basic allowance I got here was 15 days, I'm lucky that my company gives an extra day for each year of service - and they credited me for the 3 years I'd worked in the UK - but 26 days down to 18 was pretty tough! Some people obviously do camp out though - the minimum allowance is 15 - but I'm allowed to 'roll over' 16 days into the following year - madness.

From the sounds of things you should look around - it obviously varies pretty widely from company to company. Maybe you do the transfer with your current company and look around when you get here?
You should probably expect longer working hours too if you're coming from London. I took a pay cut, and an increase in hours when I moved - not that I regret it!


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