HRSINGAPORE Community Discussions
Dear HR Community Subscribers,
Are there instances when you allow staff to work from home (WFH) indefinitely?
We are in the IT industry and have a sales staff who has been WFH since the lockdown last year.
He claims to be the sole caregiver for his mother and is therefore unable to return to the office due to her medical condition.
We tolerated this for some time but now our management wants HR to take action like terminating him or taking away his transport allowance.
What do you think we should do?
Thank you for your advice.
HR Poll: Do you allow staff to WFH indefinitely in your organisation?
Not sure: 5.88%
REPLIES & COMMENTS
I believe your management should exercise empathy where possible in these unprecedented, difficult times. My organization had everyone WFH since last March and we are continuing to do so till year-end. Terminating him is a little too much - you need to ask if the termination reason is justified. Is he not performing his duties? If he is, was anything recorded? Was he given a counseling session? You will need to investigate thoroughly why your management wants to terminate him. If the termination reason is solely just for him requesting to WFH, I do not think it is justified. You can take away the transport allowance for this period since it's WFH. - Amanda
Dear Annie, Our Company does not encourage employees to WFH indefinitely due to lack of productivity. - LPS
Review his job performance. If he is a good staff who is still performing to expectation, then make some alternative arrangement on the work. If his work performance not meeting expectations, then you can put him on a performance improvement plan. If he still fails to achieve, then it will be a proper way to terminate the staff. Nevertheless, find out the truth if he is really the sole caregiver before the next step of action (like those mentioned above) to be taken. - Robin
Is he meeting his KRAs/KPIs? What's the reason for terminating him? Did you have counseling sessions if he is not meeting his KRAs, KPIs? - Belinda
Do a home visit to access the situation. re-do the employment contract to incorporate this work scheme and necessary performance, new expectations, and commitment. Hope this helps. - Joanne
At least 1 day a week the employee has to report to the office. - Kelly
Is he an asset to the company? If yes, then remove his transport allowance. If no, maybe let him go. Or drop by to confirm his claim on the medical issues of his mother. Then decide after that. - Rina
He shouldn't be given transport allowance (at the very least) since he is working from home. You can consider moving him to another suitable role within the organization. - AXL
This is just my opinion and thoughts. I am also from the tech industry. So far I had only heard that Twitter has this arrangement and it also comes with some reiteration. Not too sure what is the sales nature for your IT company, but in general, if the sales employee works from home and it does not affect his impact, productivity, or deliverables of his work, I think it is fine since the employee has a sick parent.
However, we will also need to manage the expectations of the team who are working in the office as they may request it too. But if by WFH, it has a negative impact on employee's performance, then I think it is fair for the organisation to request the employee to work from the office and he/she need to employ a caretaker to take care of this mother. (Can arrange a transition period before he comes back to work - e.g. from 1wk to 1 month) As for transport allowance, the purpose is to provide employees a sum of money to cover the cost of transport for work purpose. Taking into consideration of him WFH, I believe it will be fair to remove transport allowance if he is not incurring any cost for transport. But if any others similar sales team members are also working from home, the same treatment should apply - so that it is fair.
I suggest removing the transport allowance should not be immediate and give the employee a notice period that it will be removed in 1 month's time or etc if the employee still needs to WFH to manage the transition better. In general, as long as we are doing it in a fair and impartial manner and we explain to the employee well. I believe a mature and understanding employee will be able to take it well.
It depends on your company policy on WFH. Generally, WFH may not be applicable to all employees and all jobs unless mandated by law such as during the Circuit Breaker. If you are unsure about whether to terminate him, you may wish to seek some form of advice. - Ann
On the condition that he has to be present in the office when there is a need to. Also, depending on the performance of this staff. If the staff, frequently MIA or does not produce results, then he should not have the privilege to be permanently working from home. The company should empathize with the needs of each individual. - Celine
Depends on the job scope and whether all tasks can be successfully completed at home. Regardless of job functions, every staff is expected to return to the office at some point in time for administrative works and it is the Company's right to exercise this return to the office. Suggest to have open communication and discuss the expectations of the Company wrt returning to the office. - TNJ