f you’re a full-time employee of a large organisation, you probably enjoy a number of benefits, including paid holidays, sick leave and maternity leave. These benefits vary widely from employer to employer, as well as from country to country. The movie streaming company Netflix, for example, offers both fathers and mothers up to one year of paid leave after the birth or adoption of a child. There is a catch though: you have to allow Netflix to come to your home and record the reality series “First Year with Baby.”
Actually, the only catch seems to be that any parental leave that’s longer than 30 days needs to be approved by the human resources department. All you need to do is give HR a call. First you’ll have to speak to Miguel in Manila, who will soon transfer you to Manoj in Mumbai, who will transfer you to Marisol in Mexico City, who will put you on hold for 30 minutes. Just as you’re about to hang up, you’ll hear a voice that says, “Hello, this is Manuel in Madrid. May I help you?”
In other words, it might not be easy to be approved for a full year of parental leave. But even if certain benefits aren’t always easy to get, at least you have an opportunity to get them. If you’re lucky enough to have them, you shouldn’t take them for granted.
Employees of Zomato, the food delivery company, should be pleased that the company introduced a policy in 2020 that offers women up to 10 days of period leave a year. Even if you’re a man, you should be happy to work for a company that cares about its employees. Today, it offers time off to recover from periods; tomorrow, it might offer time off to recover from mother-in-law visits.
It’s also important to use benefits only when necessary, to not take advantage of them, to show your employer that you can be trusted. Many people, of course, have called off sick from work without a truly legitimate reason, such as a World Cup match on TV. They make sure they use up all the sick days they’re eligible for, even if they have to risk running into a co-worker at the movie theater.
Taking advantage of the system may make it harder for other employees to legitimately gain access to a benefit. But that wasn’t a concern for a bank employee in Taiwan who ensured that he’ll never get the “Employee of the Year” award.
Employers in Taiwan are required to give employees eight days of leave when they get married. Most employees take advantage of this policy only once in their lifetimes, unless they happen to get divorced and remarried. But in 2020, the bank employee decided to get married not once, not twice, not thrice, but four times! By doing so, he was able to qualify for 32 days of paid leave.
This man devised a way to take advantage of the policy four times, while also ensuring that he didn’t have any ex-wives.
On April 6, the man married his bride for the first time. Ten days later, on April 16, the couple got a divorce, only to remarry the next day, allowing the man to qualify for another eight days of paid leave. The second marriage ended in divorce on April 28, but the couple reconciled in time to remarry the next day, giving the groom another eight days of leave. On May 11, they divorced again, before remarrying the next day, allowing the bank employee to get eight more days
While the employee was technically eligible for 32 days, the bank did not approve his application and he had to appeal to the Labour Department. The case has not yet been resolved. But needless to say, the employee would be wise to start working on his résumé. If he and his wife are thinking of having children, he may want to apply