Is it possible to deduct from my wage/salary, if I refuse to go on a field trip organized by the company?  Can I complain about it?

Is it possible to deduct from my wage/salary, if I refuse to go on a field trip organized by the company? Can I complain about it?

With regard to Human Resources Administration, such a question may be unimportant internationally but this question proves that it is important in our country.

HR personnel or employees or employers, each and every one should be knowledgeable with related rules & regulations and policies.  It seems that nowadays, HR personnel know what is to be done, but do not know why and how it should be done.

There are procedures but if you do not understand them, whatever the strategy you may have set, it will not be materialized and consequently, your work suffers.

If this question is easily answered: “well, it should not be deducted and you can complain about it”.

However, I have not easily answered this question.

Let me answer this question as follows:  

First: The objectives of the field trip [organized by the company] should be mentioned. For example, you can explain roughly that, the field trip intends not only for the relaxation of the employees but also for the future prospects of the company.  Some games organized during the trip will enhance the team spirit among the employees as well as HR personnel.  Prizes or gifts can be rewarded to those winners along with the games.  Instead of field trips, some companies celebrate their anniversary or year-end functions and field trip is organized separately.  As each company has its own intention, I will not discuss further about it.

The field trip being organized by the company, the expenses occurred should be borne by the company.  

Moreover, no one should be forced to go on the trip and those who are unable to join the trip should inform in advance his/her reasonable excuses.  

Taking into account of the exact number of participants [for the trip], necessary arrangements are to be made; otherwise, unnecessary expenses may occur.  Without informing in advance his/her inability to join the trip, the expenses involved for him/her can be deducted (not necessarily but if the company/HR personnel wishes to do so), employees should be informed well in advance about it.

On the other hand, the employee is unable to join the trip due to unavoidable reasons: on account of his/her health or his/her personal matters.  In such a case, neither the company nor the HR personnel should say that “the expenses involved will be deducted from his/her wage/salary” but acknowledge his/her reasons.

From the employee’s side, without informing in advance, he/she should mention in the letter -   “the expenses involved will be paid as compensation” – Prior notification should be issued according to the prevailing rules & regulations:  the amount to be deducted or to pay the fine and for which purpose.  This notification should be submitted to the Township Labour Office for approval so that appropriate actions can be taken legally by the company.

In view of the above-mentioned procedures, the HR personnel will understand whether the deduction should be made from the employee’s wage/salary if he/she is unable to join the company’s organized trip.  If appropriate actions have been taken with the relevant Township Labour Office, then the HR personnel can take legal action against the employee: a fine should be paid by the employee and the fine can be fixed appropriately.

If the employee is not given the right to submit a letter of refutation for being unable to join the organized trip, the employer/the HR personnel should understand and accept his/her reasonable excuses.  The mutual understanding between the employer and the employee will create not only a pleasant workplace but also a good relationship.

But now, HR personnel say: “since the Admin officer has given instructions, deduct from the employee’s wage/salary if he/she is not joining the trip at the last minute”.

On the other hand, the employee being a trouble-maker should be responsible not only for his/her actions but also for what he/she has said in the initial period.

The employee should inform as soon as possible his/her inability to join the trip; otherwise, the employee is considered irresponsible.  

For any little thing that happens, do not say that, I will look for a place to make a complaint.  If there is a mutual understanding with regard to the responsibilities of both parties, there will be no problems or complaints.

To summarize the topic, 

Do not think only: “it can be deducted” but think that “procedures exist for the deductions”

Do not think only: “a complaint can be made” but think “was I irresponsible for my actions?”

In the day to day work involved, the HR Personnel often hear or come across unnecessary dialogues and unpleasant actions, consequently leading to unhappiness at the workplace.  Whatever the strategy is set, if appropriate actions are not taken accordingly, the staff at the lower levels will suffer.  Hence, please be aware that – HR personnel or the employer should be knowledgeable with not only “what to do” but also “why & how to do” systematically.

Please act cautiously and fairly in whatever you do or say.