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THE pandemic resulted in what was termed the `lost years’, effectively, life came to a standstill for almost 2 years. Businesses closed completely or if allowed to continued, operated under strict conditions. Some decided to wind up their operations, some continued with cost cutting and retrenchment of employees, a natural step.
When the economy opened up, global supply chain issues put a damper on any attempts by businesses to ramp up their operations to the capacity they had been operating prior to the pandemic.
Customers also put their orders on hold while reviewing the increased costs of goods.
It is a cyclical issue. Businesses who wish to ramp up their businesses are faced with the issue of hiring new employees. If these employers wish to hire and retain their employees, they have to offer better work terms.
But in the real business world, it is not as simple as offering better work terms. Consideration should also be given to the terms enjoyed by existing staff.
If the terms offered to new hires are above or better than the terms presently enjoyed by the existing hires, businesses will face upheavals and potential resignations from the existing hires. Just like the minimum wage imposed on employers.
With the minimum pay, the gap between an employee’s pay and his immediate superior or supervisor would narrow from RM600 previously to only RM300.
The minimum wage has a cascading and spiralling effect. It is not just about raising the wage of those who are paid below the minimum wage. Wages at every level in a business will also have to be increased accordingly to ensure that the gap in the salaries between a junior and a senior staff who has more responsibility and higher work load remains prior to the implementation of the minimum wage.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will struggle with the flexible working arrangement (FWA) as the majority of their paperwork is still not digitised as well as the required internal rules and procedures for FWA.
Concerns over confidentiality of information or possible security breaches can also limit the use of FWA for these SMEs.
Already, large companies are already having issues navigating the complex and evolving landscape responding to the “new normal” that is changing day by day. Many companies are relying on FWA for the first time. Some are thriving while others are struggling to adapt.
If large companies are struggling, needless to say the SMEs will fare worse. The responsibility for FWA is shared and requires the commitment of both employers and employees to make itsuccessful. Both sides should be practical, flexible and sensible to each other’s situation when implementing FWA.
For employers, they need to spend time to identify the job functions and tasks that can be done off-site. This may involve innovation and creativity to do things differently from the norm.