the Friday problem

Not that there is a big problem with Friday, but with the exception of the few exceptions, all the resorts in the Maldives seems to be on the wrong side of the law when it comes to making staff work on Friday. On this issue the law is clear, it states:

“chapter 4. clause 38: An employee required to work normal hours on a public holiday shall be paid at least an amount equivalent to half of the minimum wages earned on a normal day of work in addition to over time.”

Clarifying what a public holiday is, the law states:

chapter 11. clause 90: “In this act public holiday shall means Fridays, Days of commemorations of the birth of the prophet Muhammad, day of commemoration of the Maldives converting to Islam, Independence Day, National Day, First day of Ramazan, Day of Eid al Fitr, Victory Day, Republic Day, Hajj day and Day of Eid al Alha”

However most resorts breech this law as well as many other such laws and nothing happens. Long arm of the law becomes short when law is flouted by the big businesses.

The global financial crisis which is slowing down tourism industry is one good excuse for employers seek authorities sympathy rather than compliance to law. The logic being that its better for staff to keep their jobs rather than be a burden on the employer demanding compliance to law. However this is absolute rubbish as everybody knows that complying to this little one clause of law would not bankrupt a resort.

Those resorts which allow for this provision are few and yet they seems to be thriving. According to our colleagues in various resorts some resorts which have no problem implementing the law are:
1. W Maldives at Fesdu
2. Banyantree Ihuru and Vabbinfaru
3. Four seasons Landaagiraavaru and Kudahuraa
4. Bandos

There might be many but we know this much at this time.

the problem of friday

most resorts ignore the provision
some resorts allow friday with reduced work hours
some resorts allow off days to accumulate
those resorts which do not allow days to accumulate cos of supervisor or manager sees it fit. not necessarily policy.
most colleagues in various depts would agree to hold port till their colleagues come back from extended leaves…

The mix of staff

landscapersExcepting the very few exceptions, most of the resorts in Maldives have a mix of staff from various countries in an easily categorized fashion depending on the functions of the staff.
For example: Most of the Bangladeshis on the average resort would be found in the labour workforce whilst the Sri Lankans will be the majority of the accountants and the locals dominate in as Room Boys, Waiters, Receptionists and the Nepalis are dependable for security. These are general stereotypes and should match the status in most of the resorts. There is no issue in this mix of nationalities and is a blessing in many forms. Having a team of different backgrounds and nationalities bring lots of skills and everybody benefits from multiculturalism.

The flip-side of this situations is the many occasions where simple misunderstandings of language translates to anything from bickering to fights to full-scale warfare resort style. There has indeed been instances where riot police had been called to islands to quell such violence with serious injuries to staff.

On the other hand, those resorts which seems to favor a particular nationality of staff over others have an easier job of maintaining governance being dictatorial. Examples of such resorts are The Universal Group, Bandos, Vabbinfaru, Sonevafushi etc. However it has to be noted that there are indeed reasons for a resort to have an abundance of staff from a particular country or some islands in Maldives. For the Universal Group the biggest reason is their extensive business links in Sri Lanka and the history of the company rather than anything else. For Bandos the apparent favoritism of Addu staff could be attributed to Mr. Deen’s personal attachment to Addu which is quite well known. Past experience and a desire to achieve the prestigious tourism award of “green leaf” could be the reason why nature loving resorts like Vabbinfaru choose locals as their favorites. Of-course none of these claims to favoritism would be found in official ink but the effect of the evident policies are found in the staff listings and there are reasons for that.