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Why am I not entitled to service payment as a security guard?

Friday July 19 2019

John Etemesi, a security guard, reads his copy of the Daily Nation outside Jubilee Insurance building in Kisumu on Thursday. PHOTO | JACOB OWITI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

A security guard. What is important is for you to get a certificate of service, and a recommendation letter, which might give you a competitive edge at your next workplace. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP  

Q:  I recently resigned from my job as a security guard where I had worked for four years. While there, I held short term contracts lasting one year. Last week, I called the office to inquire about my service payment, but was told that I’m not entitled to any money apart from compensation of the uniform fees that was deducted from my salary for six months after I was employed. Am I entitled to any service payment? I feel that I’m being treated unfairly. Kindly advice?

Your terms and conditions of employment determine your exit package. This varies from one employer to another. I note that you are on a one-year contract, which appears to have been renewed annually. In most cases, short term contracts do not have gratuity benefits.

Ideally, the contract should have a clause that stipulates your entitlement upon resignation.

Gratuity is usually paid when the contract ends, based on the terms stipulated. However, some contracts state that this money is only payable if the employment is terminated by the employer, rather than through a resignation. Some even state that an employee would not be entitled to gratuity if they are dismissed for gross misconduct. Therefore, the answer lies in what was laid down in your contract. I suggest that you discuss the matter with HR. Perhaps you were required to serve notice in order for the company to meet its obligations towards you.

Most contracts stipulate a fixed notice period which an employee should give the organisation if they wish to resign. There is the option of paying the notice in lieu of serving, or using leave days to offset the notice. If you did not do any of the above, you might find that you owe the company money, and not vice versa. Therefore, before you take any legal action, scrutinise your contract.

The contract also stipulates the leave days you were entitled to during the current contract, if you still have some pending days, they should ideally be commuted to cash, and paid out to you. It’s not clear why the uniform money was being deducted from your salary. Your employer should provide uniform and all other accessories required for you to work.

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Don’t bring up issues that will set you on a collision path with your former employer. After all, the assumption is that you voluntarily resigned for greener pastures.  What is important is for you to get a certificate of service, and a recommendation letter, which might give you a competitive edge at your next workplace. It is advisable never to burn any bridges.

Jane Muiruri - Senior HR Manager, Nation Media Group

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