From the Selangor Times 15 June 2012. Ask Lord Bobo is a weekly column by LoyarBurok where all your profound, abstruse, erudite, hermetic, recondite, sagacious, and other thesaurus-described queries are answered!
Dear Lord Bobo, I head the Human Resources Department at the Malaysian office of a multinational company. I’ve been instructed by the Regional Head to clamp down on people who slack on their work due to watching too much football now that the European Championships are on. Whilst I understand that our offices in Europe and Hong Kong have issued warning notices and the like, is this possible in Malaysia? Any practical advice would be greatly appreciated. (Bad Cop, via email)
It really depends what is meant by “people who slack on their work due to watching too much football”.
This could refer to those whose productivity drops due to increased bouts of daydreaming at their workstations, fantasising about that Wesley Sneijder pass, or the way Andrea Pirlo caresses the ball with his velvet boots. Or it could possibly mean an increase in errors in documentation, where people type “offside” instead of “office”, “steve gerrard” instead of “best regards”, or “GOOOAAAAALLLL!!!!” instead of, well, anything really.
The previous examples would be pretty hard to “clamp down” on, aside from telling them off or asking them to drink more coffee. More obvious examples would be where employees are absent from work, or turn up for work unreasonably late due to having stayed up until almost 5 am.
Absenteeism is a valid excuse for sacking someone. However, as with any other reasons for dismissal, it must be shown that the employer acted fairly, both in terms of the reason, as well as the procedure that was implemented.
Sacking an employee who has had a spotless record for 20 years just because he missed half a morning’s work due to oversleeping is unlikely to be seen as fair.
The best thing you can do is to issue a friendly email or memo to all employees to remind them that, whilst they can enjoy as much football as they want, it’s important to be fair to the company as well to ensure that they continue to work responsibly. You could also consider mentioning that “football fever” is not an accepted illness that would justify them taking sick leave. Nor is “I twisted my ankle trying to copy Ronaldo’s stepovers”.
Depending on the nature of your business, and the importance of having employees around at particular times, you may also consider implementing more flexible hours for those who wish to take this option. For example, you could allow them to come in an hour or two later, in exchange for them staying back an hour or two at the end of the day.
At the end of the day, Euros or not, employment laws and expectations are the same. After all, it’s not like it’s Malaysia in the World Cup or something (in which case there would possibly be a month-long public holiday declared anyway).
Lord Bobo, when do you think the general election is going to be? (Tan TY, via email)
Oh boy. His Supreme Eminenceness doesn’t know you, Tan TY, and it’s quite unfortunate that you caught us on a bad day (banana supplies are low). Lord Bobo has received this question more than 20 times this year.
We do not understand the obsession that Malaysians seem to have with this.
Even more perplexing is the fact that editors publish articles by people predicting when the elections are going to be. At last count, Lord Bobo believes that we have had five “sure dates” since the middle of 2011.
Best of all is when columnists predict “June, for sure because of (insert random seemingly intelligent reason here)” and then when June passes, they write another column saying “September, for sure because of (insert random supposedly more intelligent reason here)”.
Come on, do you really think that there is an intelligent or rational reason for choosing the election date?
To be fair, we suppose it is a good thing that Malaysians are looking forward to the elections.
Since 2008, the expectation of elections has changed – people seem to believe that the outcome is actually not cast in stone, and hence politicians and the public are quite excited about the goings-on leading up to elections. But, as loyal readers of this column will know, His Supreme Eminenceness is of the view that too much weight is put on elections – democracy does not begin and end with the elections every four or five years or so.
To answer the question, Lord Bobo does not “think” when the elections are going to be. Lord Bobo knows when the elections are going to be. No, not because we’re shopping buddies with the First Lady. Have you forgotten that we’re omniscient?
Have a question for Lord Bobo? Call on His Supreme Eminenceness by emailing [email protected], stating your full name, and a pseudonym (if you want), or tweeting your questions by mentioning @LoyarBurok and using the hashtag #asklordbobo. What the hell are you waiting for? Hear This, and Tremblingly Obey (although trembling is optional if you are somewhere very warm)! Liberavi Animam Meam! I Have Freed My Spirit!
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