If your salary is deducted for arriving late to office, can you make a complaint?

If your salary is deducted for arriving late to office, can you make a complaint?

This question was asked by en employee where a foreigner was managing the business.

If the background of a situation is unknown in details, such a question cannot be answered off-hand.

If the employee is dissatisfied, a complaint can be made; however to which extent was the situation caused?

“At our office, 20,000 Kyat is deducted once we arrive late.  One Manager often arrives lat.  During the first month, he arrived late four times and so 80,000 Kyat was deducted from his salary.  The following month, he was late twice and so 40,000 Kyat was deducted again from his salary.  Within two months’ time, more than one lakh was deducted again”.

Being the Manager, although he had worked overtime, he was not entitled.  However, his salary had been deducted for arriving late to office.  Therefore, he was dissatisfied and he made a complaint.  The employer then asked if there is any prescribed rules & regulations concerning such a case.

The question is: Is there any prescribed rules & regulations concerning such a case?

The answer is:  Whether there are rules & regulations concerning such a case, the employee should first understand the reasons why rules & regulations are issued.

Alternative question: Does the employer want this amount of money deducted from the employee? Or does the employer want the employee to change his behaviour?  How do you understand? 

The answer is: The employer does not want the employee to arrive late to office.

Arriving late to office, 20,000 Kyat is fined for one time and it happened four times within one month.  During the following month, it happened again twice.

The question is: Do you think this method of taking action will change his behaviour?

The answer is: Certainly not!  

The question is:  If so, why did the employer deduct for arriving late twice during the following month?

The answer is:  If the employer wants the employee to change his behaviour, he should have held a discussion instead of deducting his salary twice during the following month.

Compared to the Manager, the HR staff is much lower in rank and therefore, he is rather hesitant to address this issue to the Manager. 

It was suggested that such a case should be reported to an official higher in rank than the Manager.  The employee was late for four times continuously and according to the rules & regulations issued, he was fined.  He was again late twice during the following month; therefore, an open discussion with the employer was recommended.

If an HR staff deducts from the salary of an employee for being late, it is likely that undesirable problems [dissatisfaction & disputes] could occur and the company will not achieve the expected results. Moreover, the employee’s mistake (arriving late) could become the company’s mistake.  HR Personnel should therefore consider carefully when taking disciplinary actions against their employees.

It is necessary to explain the prevailing Myanmar Labour Laws. According to 2016 wage payment law, one of the prevailing laws, it is suggested that penalties concerning deductions should be notified.  

However, such notifications must be approved by the Township Labour Office and they should be put visibly on the bulletin board for the employees.  Then only, disciplinary actions can be taken legally against the employees.  Otherwise, employees can make a complaint when their salary is deducted according to the notifications legally issued.