Oct 10, 2013

    Lie to the boss? Watch it

    LYING workers beware: Employers here are keeping an eye out for those who tell a fib to get extra days off.

    Some companies even have safeguards in place to catch workers who do so.

    This was their response after a survey claimed yesterday that one in five Singaporeans lies to get time off for a vacation.

    Top excuses - according to 1,000 respondents polled by travel website Skyscanner - include pretending that their holiday had already been booked (10 per cent) and calling in sick (9 per cent).

    It is not easy to catch such lies, said companies which spoke to My Paper.

    But some track how frequently employees use medical certificates (MCs) to take time off work. Others allow staff to visit only company-approved general practitioners.

    "They can't just go to any doctor to ask for an MC," said Mr Chen Wen Gui, 48, manager of a construction company.

    Bosses also said there are tell-tale signs that they look out for, such as workers making excuses for a day off just before or after a long weekend. Sometimes, they rely on other staff members to expose a lie.

    Pre-school principal Lynn Lim, who is in her 40s, said she does not normally probe as she "respects staff privacy". But she had to step in when an employee claimed a relative had died in order to obtain urgent leave. Colleagues told Ms Lim the truth, and the worker was reprimanded.

    But these seemingly harmless lies could hurt an employee's career, said Mr Josh Goh, assistant director of corporate services at human-resource consultancy The GMP Group.

    Written warnings are usually given if an employee persists in such behaviour and, in some cases, he could be sacked.

    The findings seem to suggest poor work attitudes here, Mr Goh added. But they could also be a result of a rigid workplace culture which leaves no room for flexible hours.

    Said Mr Erman Tan, president of the Singapore Human Resources Institute: "Bosses must be more open and provide a listening ear. That way, employees won't have to resort to lying."