When I was 2 weeks away from coming to the end of my 2 months maternity leave, I emailed and met my manager at her home to highlight my concerns that I have yet to be able to find a good nanny to care for my newborn - although we have met and interviewed about 4 nannies at that time, none of them are qualified or good enough to care for our baby (some are already pass 50+ years old, house condition not hygienic, they already caring for 4 kids that time, staying in high traffic area). Yes, ppl may say that we're just being picky or we have too high expectations, but this is my baby we are talking about. It's not like choosing veggie in the market or something!!
Anyway, I proposed to my manager to allow me to take additional few more months of unpaid leave so that I can continue breastfeeding my baby and meantime, to look for a suitable nanny. Another option I proposed is to allow me to work part-time - something like a 2-3 days in a week work kinda thing for short term (like for 6 months) - for this option, the company can just pay me the number of days I work in a month. I even told my manager they can void my annual leave, bonus, EPF, etc.
When it was time for me to return back to work, my manager is still working out my concerns with her supervisor. (let's call her supervisor MS for easy reference) Meanwhile, I managed to get my sis in law to care for my baby (she agreed to care for maximum 2 months while her maid is still around as she has to home school her own 6 children, so most of the time, she will just oversee her maid in caring for my baby)
First day after work... when I went to pickup my baby, my sis in law told me the devastating news that she has to take back her word. We have to look for our own nanny cos she really cannot handle a baby at that time. Her house is being renovated and her maid is not able to cope with watching over the contractors, cleaning up the house and caring for my baby at the same time... not to mention, my baby is well, being a baby, crying most of the time (cos new environment and used to my smell I guess...)
On the 2nd day, MS called me, my manager and the HR personnel and highlighted that there is no such policy in the company to allow staff to take unpaid leave or work part-time.
I mentioned that in the HR manual, it was stated if the staff has exhausted their annual leave, any further leave from there will be treated as unpaid leave. Isn't that what I'm proposing and how can MS said it's not in the company policy? I guess this remark caught MS off-guard and triggered MS hatred towards me (can tell from MS reactions) and MS said 'How long you want to continue applying for unpaid leave? Are you going to apply for it every week?'
Then MS also mentioned that if I was serious in looking for nanny, I would've found one long ago and not wait until returning back to work and bring this issue up. I was so angry with that statement but I just kept quiet. Then MS added 'If we allow you to work part-time, then the rest of the staff will follow. You are setting precedent in the company. It will give them impression that staff can simply get pregnant, take maternity leave and then work part-time. Then if you work part-time and company ask you to come office to attend meeting and your son needs you that time, of course you will attend to your son first right?"
That statement was the last straw... I'm sorry to say this but whether I am working full or part time... as long as my son needs me, I will attend to him first instead of the company. Mind you, this MS has 2 children and I've seen MS rushing home during working hours to fetch one of the children home because there is no transport that day. Well? Why not the same understanding and empathy here???
Anyway, to cut it short... I tendered the next morning and to be honest, that 1 month notice I served (and paying off the other 2 months notice) has been quite an experience which further cemented my decision to quit. Not to mention the stress and pain it caused me as I can only express maximum 2 oz of breast milk per day at work during my last week at the company.
Personally, I think there are some mothers in my company who would want to work but also care for their children at the same time and I think my other colleagues who heard about my proposals are kinda hoping it might work out.
There were some further discussions being made to get me as a freelance staff after I quit but in the end, the discussion failed. Well, this is another story to be told in the future. But one of the reason it failed is because I found out I was being backstabbed by MS apart from the conditions set towards my freelance terms which is not advantageous to me. I just think, what's the point in continuing to work here when MS is trying so hard to get rid of me? My name tarnished, fine, let it be. I know I did nothing wrong and I know God is watching all this.
When I left, some of my colleagues said that they envied my position and how they wished they can do the same. Honestly, I think if the company considers the pros and cons of the idea, it would be a win-win situation. Unpaid leave - you still have your staff but you just skipped a few months salary as long as they don't work, working mothers get to care for their children. Part-time basis - again, you still have your staff and you pay according to the number of days they work, less EPF contributions, helps the company at this situation of economy glitch and working mothers get to care for their children.
My disappointment in this whole thing that made me wonder is, how can a person who also has children can totally not even try to empathise with your situation and even go to the extent of trying to get rid of you and slander you in front of big bosses. If they are sincere in retaining their staff and think from the company's perspective instead of soothing their own hurt ego, things can be work out, whether it is in the company policy or not.
I prayed to God to open up the mind and heart of people like MS - to empathise with staff with their own family situation and I prayed to God to give employees the courage to stand up for what they believe in and not be bullied and looked down just because there are ppl who are higher rankings than them.
Work is not everything... money is not everything... in the end, if you have your work, and still get salary but you are being discriminated and bullied at work, what's the point? And to miss your child's growing up when all this happen?
Nah... it's just not worth it...
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Matthew 6:31-34
"Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints...." Ephesians 6:10-18 "
For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:34-37
"Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!" Psalm 27:14