Major Teoh’s Blog

February 27, 2007

HR-Notification of Retirement

Filed under: Notice of Retirement,Sample Letters — Major (Rtd) Teoh @ 4:17 pm

HR-Notification of Retirement





Employee Number:



Re: Notification of Retirement Date: __________

We refer to our company’s policy on compulsory retirement upon reaching the statutory age of 55 years.

Our records show that you will be attaining the age of 55 years on ___________ and accordingly you shall be retired on that day.

Please make the necessary arrangements to hand over your duties and out standing matters to ______________(name of employee taking over the duties) by ______________ (date).

Your last pay package shall be made available to you on _______________ after you have handed over whatever company property you may have with you to the undersigned.

The company is taking this opportunity to thank you for your services rendered to this company and wishing you all the best in your future undertakings.




Yours truly,










Pers File



February 26, 2007

Prolonged Illness Policy

Filed under: Prolonged Illness,Sample Policy — Major (Rtd) Teoh @ 1:15 pm

HR-Prolonged Illness Policy


Company’s Policy on Prolonged Illness 

1. General. 

a. It is the company’s policy to extend all possible help to an employee who is suffering from an ailment/sickness, injury or a disablement which under the normal circumstances would take a longer time to be cured, healed and recuperate to a status whereby the employee is able to commence normal work. However there is a limit to the level of tolerance and as such there is a need for this policy.

b. Notwithstanding with the above, it must be noted that the management is not obliged to keep in its employ an employee who is unable to fulfill either the written or the implied terms and conditions of employment one of which is to be ready, willing and be able to work.

2. Definition of Prolonged Illness. 

An employee

(i)                  who is ill, sick, incapacitated or disabled; and

(ii)                who is in need continuous and continual medical attention and medication: and,

(iii)               in the expert opinion of a registered medical practitioner, is unable to perform normal work and/or will endanger the health and well-being of the co-workers,

shall be placed on “prolonged illness” status.

3. Duration and Payment 

a. During this period of prolonged illness the employee shall be paid:

First ……..(State number) months: Full basic pay

Second ……….(State number) months: Half basic pay

Third ………….(State number) months: No pay.

b. The employee may seek medical treatment from the company’s approved panel of doctors and the medical entitlement shall be according to the employee’s entitlement in the existing terms and conditions of employment.

c. The employee shall rigidly follow the advice of company’s approved panel of doctors and without fail present himself for medical examination and reviews as directed by them from time to time.

d. However, if the employee chooses to seek the advice and/or treatment and medication from persons other than those approved by the company, the cost shall be borne by the employees themselves.

4. Exemption (Exclusion Clause) 

This benefit will not cover  ailment/sickness, injury or a disablement arising from any fault, carelessness, indiscretion of the employees, participation in or attending any hazardous sports, pursuit or pastime, attempted suicide, the performance of any unlawful act, exposure to any hazards, except when endeavoring to save human life, provoked assault, the use of drugs not medically prescribed, congenital anomalies, illegal abortive measures, excessive use of alcohol or any breach of peace or disorderly conduct and surgery for beautification purposes.

5. Medical Board and Review 

At the end of this period the employee shall undergo a medical board review to ascertain the employee’s health status. This board shall comprise of three registered medical practitioners approved by the management. The management will study the independent recommendations put forth by the individual registered medical practitioners and may take actions accordingly as recommended by them. This may include termination. The decision of management is final and binding.





February 25, 2007

Filed under: Guest Writers,Heera Singh — Major (Rtd) Teoh @ 1:51 pm


By Heera Singh *

A common practice in most Malaysian organizations, as part of the employee retention plan, is to conduct exit interviews with the objective of finding out the reasons for employees leaving. Once these factors are known, then action is taken to address these issues and hopefully reduce employee turnover (especially the high performers). But the main weakness in exit interviews from a Malaysian perspective is that most employees, being polite, do not reveal the ‘real’ reasons for them leaving.

They also do not want to leave on an antagonistic note and hence give reasons like “I want to join my uncle in his business”, “I want to help my brother in law start his new company” etc (all of which are usually not true – they may actually be joining a competitor). Hence the main objective of exit interviews is usually not achieved.

My view is that it would be better to conduct ‘stay’ interviews with especially high performers so as to pre-empt their leaving. Don’t wait for exit interviews to find out why they want to leave. When high performers hand in their letter of resignation, it is always difficult to persuade them at this late stage to stay either through monetary means or by addressing their grievances.

Their attitude will be, “Does it have to be my resignation that makes you take notice of my unhappiness or my concerns”. The point here is, wouldn’t it be more beneficial for organizations to conduct stay interviews on a periodical basis so that these grievances and unhappiness can be discussed and addressed early?

During ‘stay’ interviews ask employees questions like, “What will it take for you to continue working for us? What circumstances might entice you to leave?”. “What can we do to support you in your career development?” Listen carefully to the responses, even if you are not happy with what you hear. Importantly, you will have to take action after the interview to address the concerns of the employee.

Obviously, not all issues can be fully overcome, for example, if the employee is demanding a pay rise that is beyond the salary scales of your organization. However if some of the issues brought out are tackled pre-emptively then the chances of employees staying will be better. And as we are aware, employee retention (high performers) is critical to the success of any organization. 

Some managers hesitate to conduct this interview for fear of hearing negative views about the department/themselves or that they won’t be able to deliver on the employees’ requests. My view is that it would be better for them to hear these negative views early on and take some action, rather than risk losing their best performers to competitors at a later date.

‘Stay’ interviews also has the positive effect of ensuring that the people you interview feel valued and important, which often translates to stronger loyalty and commitment to the organization. In other words, just by conducting the interview you have given recognition to the high performer and this would be a good way to ensure his/her retention.

Some of the possible questions that can be asked during stay interviews are as follows:

1. Why makes you stay in this organization?

2, What circumstances would make you leave?

3. What can we do to make your job more challenging?

4. What can we do to assist in enhancing your career?

5. Do you get enough recognition in this organization?

Thought-provoking questions such as the above will prove highly beneficial as they provide a forum in which the employee can give his opinions and views on work related issues openly. You may be surprised that these may not always be negative.  Once the results are compiled and collated, necessary action can then be taken to address these issues. 

Pro-active action is taken rather than reacting after the high performers have decided to leave. A word of caution though and that is, stay interviews can also be a double edged weapon. If they are conducted, and no action is taken, then the high performers will regard that as a sign of disrespect and provide them with the impetus to leave earlier.  

These interviews need not be held formally. It could be as simple as having lunch with the employee or an informal chat over coffee at the canteen. What is important is that an environment is created in which the employee is made to feel ‘safe’ so that he can give his views and opinions openly without fear of it being used against him. This ‘safe’ environment is critical, as otherwise the responses from the employee may not necessarily be true and hence the objective of the interview will not be achieved.

In conclusion, ‘stay’ interviews constitute a very important means for organizations to solicit valuable feedback from employees (especially high performers) about the working environment and conditions prevailing in the organization.

If this is done effectively, and action taken, it would surely contribute positively to the organizational retention process. In the current volatile business environment, this could very well be the tipping point towards ensuring the success or failure of your organization.

*  Heera Singh is the Principal Consultant of HEERA Training and Management Consultancy. His website is at: 

February 21, 2007

More on Misconduct

Filed under: Management — Major (Rtd) Teoh @ 2:39 pm

1. What is a misconduct?
A misconduct is the commission and/or the non-commission of an act which is incosistent with the fulfilment of the express or implied terms of the conditions of service.

2. What are the types of misconduct?
There are two types of misconduct, vis-a vis, minor and major misconduct. A minor misconduct is one that does not attract dismissal as a punishment whereas a major misconduct does. Whatever it is, before a punishment is dished out or dispensed, even a simple warning, an inquiry must be held,

3. What constitutes an inquiry?
An inquiry can either be formal or informal depending on the seriousness of the misconduct. The elements of natural justice must be incorporated into an inquiry, the absence of any one of the limbs of natural justice, such as: (i) No one can be a judge in his own cause (‘Nemo debet essa judex in propria cause’), (ii) Hear the other side (‘Audi Alteram Partem’), will render the inquiry invalid.

In an hypothethical case in which an errant employee comes late for work for the first time, by asking him, “Why are you late?” would constitute an inquiry. As this is a minor misconduct and dismissal is not at the back of your mind, therefore a due inquiry such as this suffice.

But if it is a serious case such as theft or smuggling of drugs into the work place, a formal inquiry with a panel duly appointed and the proceedings properly documented should be contemplated because dismissal will definitely be at the back of your mind when the errant employee is found quilty as charged.

For the above reasons that is why I recommended that HOD should handle minor offences and HR handle major offences.

4. The case for the HOD
When a minor misconduct is reported to the HOD, the HOD should investigate and establish whether there is a prima facie case or not? If there is, he then summons the errant employee to explain his actions or inactions.

Depending on the errant employee’s explanation, the HOD could either throw the whole report out, if the HOD accepts his explanation or warns him if his reasons or explanations are not accepted. In a unionised environment, the union could insist that the HOD withdraws the warning letter if it is found to be mala fide, and/or issued without just cause and reason.

5. When does a minor misconduct becomes a major misconduct?
A minor misconduct can become a major misconduct if it becomes habitual and without any abatement.

6. Can a major misconduct be inquired into in a very informal way?
If the offence is serious enough to attract dismissal as a punishment, it is advisable not to. A proper vebatim documentation of the whole proceedings, from beginning to end, is recommended. All these records should be made available when your actions are challenged in the open courts.

7. What are the types of punishment available by law?
Section 14 (1) confers the right of an employer, after due inquiry to do either one of the following:

(a) dismiss without notice the employee;
(b) downgrade the employee; or
(c) impose any other lesser punishment as he deems just and fit.

Sub-section (a) and (b) above, are quite clear and definite. In sub-section (c), it could be implied that the employer is free to:

(a) impose fines
(b) transfer
(c) with-hold increment and make stoppages of pay;
(d) depriviation of bonus, full or partial.

In the past, the Industrial Courts will not vehemently oppose to the employer’s decision to any of the above but will usually view it as “too excessive” and reduce the quantum. What is “just and fit” for one party will not be “just and fit” for another. It is debatable.

Just sharing.


Major (Rtd) Teoh

February 17, 2007

Who should issue warning letters?

Filed under: Management — Major (Rtd) Teoh @ 9:58 am

 Who should issue warning letters?

Humbly I would suggest that HOD should handle all minor offences and HR should handle major offences which attract dismissal as the ultimate punishment.

Anything up to a warning letter or a show cause letter should be handled by HOD.

In a small organisations it is quite normal that HR handles everything. But as the organisation grows, so will the duties and responsibilities. ‘Besar periuk, besar keraknya.’ Therefore, it is only logical that the duties be spread and shared.

It is also a matter of whether you want to decentralise and to empower or not.

By decentralising and empowering you free yourself from the shackles of mundane and routine job to concentrate on value added activities like transformation HR, organisation development.

This will leave you free to concentrate on being a contributing strategic partner to the organisation which you belong..

There is nothing wrong in sharing with your downliners some aspects of HR. After all, every manager is a HR manager. I am not sure whether you subscribe to this line of thought or not but it is a fact.

By involving your downliners, you are indirectly involving them in decision making; collective responsibility thus creating a very cohesive and tightly knitted team.

One should not be afraid of teaching. One should not be selfish, The more you give, so shall you receive. They say an HR’s job is never done.

A good HR manager is one who can delegate not abdicate; one who can empower and yet be in control and one who can go on extended leave without being bothered with the nitty gritty problems.

If your staff have to consult you at every turn and corner, there is something terribly wrong with them. It merely shows that they are unable to make decisions and could be that they are also afraid to make decisions.

“Boss takdak. Boss cuti”.

“So what?”

Just sharing.


Major (Rtd) Teoh

Next Page »

Blog at