Q: Is loyalty this cheap? I’m asking this because my dad worked for one employer for 40 years, only to be dismissed very disrespectfully last month. His desire was to work until retirement. Now I’m afraid of giving my best to my employer just in case he treats me the same way my father was treated at his workplace. Please advice.
I feel your sense of helplessness on this matter that seems so unfair, but let me explain how end of service works for many organisations. If your dad was employed in his early 20s and has worked for 40 years, he should be in his early sixties, which is the retirement age in most companies. Also, note that there is big difference between dismissal and retirement when used in reference to employment. While the former refers to premature departure from an organisation, in most cases for misconduct, the latter is the departure after honourable service worthy of celebration.
You say he was dismissed disrespectfully while his desire was to be employed until he could work no anymore. This shows that his aspirations and that of his employers were not aligned. Retirement policies exist not only to reward loyal employees for long service, but also to create room for new skills, energy and agility that are needed in the modern workplace. While this is a good thing for the organisation, it may feel unfair for a loyal employee. However, it all depends on how the message is delivered to the employee.
According to the Employment Act and Retirements Benefits Act, notice ought to be given or paid in advance as provided for in company policies or contract of engagement. Secondly, employers should clearly indicate when the benefits will be paid, and the process to be followed. Third, any leave day pending before the last day of work should be compensated in cash. Lastly, payment of any other benefits or incentives that may have accrued as of the time of departure such as gratuity, bonus or long service awards should be effected.
If there is evidence that he has been treated unfairly, he could raise a complaint through the right channels and demand for fairer treatment. As for your last statement, your father’s career should not define yours. There are benefits and challenges associated with working for an employer for long, which is a topic for another day.