We commented in your name…

HR ministry website header
HR ministry website header

Human resources ministry is asking for comments and views from the public to fine tune the existing labor laws. (pls send your comments to comments@employment.gov.mv ) And we have taken the liberty of
commenting about some issues relevant to us the resort workers and sent them in your name. Here below are the comments we have submitted. Do you agree with these comments?

1. Instead of 3 days on the occasion of the birth of the child for the
father and 5 days for the circumcision of the child, these numbers of
days could be swapped so that 5 days is given for the the birth of the
child and 3 days for the circumcision of the child. Because the birth
of a child is a greater event than the circumcision of the child. Then
there shall be some consolation for the girl child as a girl child is
not circumcised. Other wise gender inequality issue might arise.

2. A fine of 5000rf to 10000rf for any violation of any clause of the
labor bill might be something for the small business but we believe
there shall be distinction for the resort owners. Because such figures
mean nothing to an average resort. Managements will not think twice to
re-offend with such paltry figures as fines. Our suggestion is to
raise the figure for the resorts by 10 folds.

3. Clause 19 (5) (haa). “Hingumuge is maqaamu thakugai thibey meehun”
This shall be clarified as resorts over the last few weeks have been
raising the statuses of almost everyone so that the 8 hour work
requirements could be evaded. A better classification for the resorts
could be that the above clause is mean to meant Managers which include division managers and department heads.

4. Service charge distribution detail (for resorts) shall be required
to be sent to the tourism ministry also (in addition to being made available for the staff via public notice board) because currently there is
massive fraud happening in this area. In a typical month on an average resort service charge distribution runs to thousands of dollars and managements has been shamelessly tweaking the figures to mislead the staff. This is all very common in resorts except a tiny minority. By having them report the figures to the ministry they will think twice before tweaking the figures because with such data the ministry could do a
correlation check if fraud is alleged to have happened.

5. Ramzan bonus shall be on a fixed rate and not proportional to the salaries recieved. Because the rate of hunger will be the same for all those who fast regardless of position.


4 thoughts on “We commented in your name…

  1. I read your comments with interest.

    I understand the historical problems and I accept their relevance to your position.
    Your new government came to power with an express mandate to redress these problems. It is not my role to intervene in your political system but I would certainly reccomend that all Maldivian workers and employers should give serious consideration to my thoughts in the national interest and in their personal interests.

    As for the service charge, I note your example of the gardener for whom the service charge represents about one third of his income. My argument is that his base income should be at least $2, 800. A gardener providing better performance (service to the employer) should reasonably expect an employer to acknowledge that better service by an improved monthly wage. I have observed people in that capacity who are barely worth $2,200 but I have also observed many who are worth double that sum. This is especially the case in the food and beverage delivery area.

    I certainly do not want to embroil myself in what you see as an area of religious sentiment. However, I stand by my contention that there is no rational industrial relations aspect to this payment. The best industrial relations environment that you can create is one where industrial considerations, and only industrial considerations, are of relevance.

    I wish you well in your endeavours.

  2. A big thanks for Mr. Mohamed Nizam for the feedback and Mr. Anthony Black for very a very long and informative comment. A few thoughts of ours are in order…

    Life would have been better if ppl self regulate and play fair but this does not seem to be the case. In resorts we the staff (meaning the lowly ones) are constantly at war with the management over the little insignificant things in life… Like the grand luxury of being able to take an off day after a hard 6 day week. We witness incredible dishonesty happening right in front of our eyes and we see no self made business that rose to prominent on their merits. All our employers (local ones.. sadly) with the exception of a few of course were created by closeness and connections to our former government. Such closeness to the government did not make these businesses feel any more responsible and as a matter of fact they seem to have a healthy disdain for the rule of law or common decency. In a nutshell that seems to be the context. In short our employers doesn’t seem to be aware of the tangible need to appear as a ‘caring’ employer.

    As for your view that service charge is inflationary and that it rewards those who may not deserve… well this may be true but employees are working to earn something and in the face of paltry wages (and nothing else…) service charge is something. Suppose a gardener makes 180$ per month. He received 750$ as service charge (these are actual figures around January this year) so evidently service charge is something to ponder over here. Its not something the lowly paid staff would give up without a fight..

    As for the fasting bonus… in theory there is no reason a fasting person will or shall be less productive than a non fasting person. A good Muslim would be more active fasting than non fasting.. Nor is there any requirement in tradition or religion that Muslims shall be paid bonuses in the fasting month. however in an all Muslim country it would be wise not to be drawn in to the religious sentiments involved with this bonus.

    Once again thanks Mr Anthony Black for being a frequent visitor to our country and we hope you will visit our country many more times in the future…

  3. I am a lawyer who has nearly 40 years experience in the field of Industrial Relations. For the purpose of more informed debate, I offer the following observations on your submissions:
    1. The notion of leave for an employee for the birth/ circumcision of a child is too specific and restraining.
    Advanced industrial systems have developed a system of leave entitlements which can be based on annual entitlement or cumulative entitlement. Thus employees will have an absolute entitlement to leave on Fridays, Public Holidays and an agreed period of annual leave, usually between ten and twenty paid working days per annum.
    In addition, the system should provide for a maximum period of special purpose leave to cover such events as sickness, family funerals, births etc. This leave is not neccesarily an absolute entitlement but is intended to be granted as and when the need is evidenced.If made cumulative, it gives employees the ability to accrue a substantial degree of protection against long term ill health. It also enhances an employer’s reputation as a caring employer and may diminish his longer term liabilities for health care.

    2 Fines for breaches of Industrial Law should be uniform for all employers and employees. They should also be punitive. Employers who breach the law should be required to make good the loss caused to the employee plus 100% of that sum and then pay a fine equal to ten times that total for each and every breach. Consistent offenders should have their operating licences revoked.

    3 The Law itself should be amended to nominate an annual salary level at which an employee is deemed to be in a management (or salaried,) position. That figure should be indexed against CPI or inflation.

    4 I have a strong personal belief that the whole service charge system is anti-productive on three important counts. It has a major inflationary impact on prices. It rewards people who fail to provide good service. It fails to adequately reward people who do provide good service.

    As an employer, I would prefer the liberty of paying higher wages to an employee who provides good service.

    If service charges are to be maintained they should be divided pro rata among all employees. This is especially so in the resorts where the boatboy, the gardener, the streetsweeper and the executive chef are all contributors to the product offered by the employer.

    5 I can see no logical industrial reason for the payment of this bonus. Employers might well argue that non-fasting employees are more productive.

    As a regular visitor to The Maldives, I have closely observed the impact of a number of the existing industrial practices. I believe the country as a whole, and the resort industry in particular, would benefit from a more open and rational debate about these issues.

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