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Plight of individual under Gov’t traineeship programme serving overtime with no pay sparks online discussion

Several netizens remarked that this "unreasonable situation" was common in the workplace

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Singapore – A member of the public took to social media to ask if it was reasonable for a company to push overtime with no pay on someone under a trainee position. The question sparked an online discussion among netizens.

On Sunday (Nov 29), Facebook user Stacy Lee took to Complaint Singapore‘s page to share her friend’s situation who got a trainee position through government subsidies. The concerned individual asked the online community if it was reasonable for her friend to receive the traineeship and made to work overtime with no OT pay.

Ms Lee asked if the trainee had the right to refuse the overtime work. “Also, a traineeship program means the employer needs to train him right, but they expect him to perform the job of a permanent staff,” said Ms Lee. “Staff and colleagues not willing to train him as well,” she added.

Members from the online community shared insights on the issue, noting that there would always be office politics in a work environment. “Trainee positions are being created by the government to let those recently retrenched or jobless persons have temporary jobs and salaries to tie over this difficult Covid-19 period,” explained Facebook user John Ng. “Some bosses treat these positions as a help out to permanent staff workloads.” With regards to training being passed down, Mr Ng highlighted that “most will care more for their own career than to teach you their experiences.”

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Others noted that this “unreasonable situation” was common in the workplace. Ms Lee added that if her friend knew how to do the job, he wouldn’t be a trainee.

Still, some advised focusing on the positive aspects, given that times are tough and many companies are facing difficulties. “The choice is yours to feel negative or positive,” said Facebook user Sor Lee. He suggested the extra time spent on repetitive tasks could be considered as training to progress in one’s career.

In response to the OT pay, the MOM advisory on hours of work, overtime and rest days notes that a non-workman and workman earning up to S$2,600 and S$4,500, respectively, are entitled to overtime pay.

Over 95,000 opportunities under the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package have been made available to jobseekers so far, said Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo on Sept 4, during one of the latest updates on the government scheme.

Through the SGUnited Jobs and Skills Package, about 100,000 jobs, traineeships and skills opportunities will be created to open up more pathways for local jobseekers and to prepare them for the eventual economic recovery. Out of the 95,000 opportunities, close to 20,000 company-hosted traineeships, attachments or training places were established.

The Independent Singapore has reached out to Ms Lee for a statement.

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