Ever more benefits; property loans, 20-week paid maternity leave….

I believe the working conditions of today has improved tremendously compared to when I first started. There are now more benefits that was considered a luxury just 10 years ago. FREE Latte machines in the office? Where each cup of latte would still cost RM4.50 to the company? What about allowances in US$ so that fluctuations in exchange rate is not going to affect us much when we travel? Business trips to overseas locations as we are now considered on par with all the international expats from advanced nations? There are definitely more and I think for this part of the world, it’s getting better. The reason is because most of these benefits are now considered as ‘within cost of operations.’
We recently have a few more things to cheer about. Not directly but indirectly, these would provide some pressure to all existing companies. First, it was StanChart’s announcement which was shared by a female team-mate of mine. I told her, ‘please do not resign because of this benefit,ok?’ She laughed. StanChart will be offering a 20-week PAID maternity leave to its employees. This would be double of the current 2 months or between 8 – 10 weeks paid maternity leave. Its Head of Human Resource Florence Foo shared, “In our pursuit of becoming a human bank, StanChart commemorates Labour Day by placing importance on our people. We are always looking to strengthen our staff welfare, as well as to retain and groom talent.” Ready to join StanChart now? Full article in TheStar here.
What about a property related benefit? Actually, there’s another one for a home sweet home. This announcement from CIMB should spur all other banks to do the same, hopefully. As reported in NST, CIMB Group Holdings will be allocating about RM1 billion for their 4,000 employees from the lower income group to purchase their own homes. According to CIMB Group chief people officer Datuk Hamidah Naziadinm, “We want to make sure that our staff have roof over their heads and we believe they will be able to purchase a decent home with RM250,000.” This is applicable to staffs earning less than RM3,500 per month and will start from 1st May 2017.  With competition comes better benefits? Maybank has announced that it will be offering a 0% interest for staff housing loans for the first RM100,000. This is applicable for staffs with basic salary up to RM3,000 per month. It will be effective July 1 and will be applicable for new and existing loans of its employees in Malaysia. Full report in theedgemarkets here. 
Many years ago, when I was assigned to meet some new investors into Malaysia, their question has always been, ‘Besides basic salary, what are the common benefits that MNCs provide to the Malaysian workforce?’ It has never been just  about the salary range. To many who are still struggling with low pay and below the average benefits in the same company, think about it seriously. The problem may not lie with the company. Malaysia is only a very small trading nation compared to the world even though number wise, we are punching above our weight. Here’s that prediction for 2050 by an PWC. Yes, Malaysia is seen pretty positively here. One sentence about us? Here: “Colombia, Poland and Malaysia all possess great potential for sustainable long-term growth in the coming decades according to our country experts.” Yes, I will definitely continue to work in Malaysia.
written on LABOUR DAY 2017
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