A Tale of Two Employees and a Valuable Lesson How to Talk to Your Employer

We began our operations last June 1 (Monday).

Given the 1-meter social distancing rule and the expected market slump, our staff had to work in shifts. This meant that while everyone was asked to report, everyone had to deduct one to two workdays from the regular work week to accommodate government regulations. Thankfully, our employees were all cooperative and despite the lack of public transportation, managed to report to work.

Only 10% of our work force did not manage to report.

This is the tale of two employees who managed the problem differently.

Both of them similarly lived far away from their workplace and would take a few hours of walking to get to work. Both cannot conveniently make it due to the lack of bus and jeep in the first week of June. This situation is valid. Currently, only the MRT/LRT, P2P buses, and tricycles are available, thus not many people can report back to work even if they wanted to:

sit down

However, the two employees managed the problem differently, resulting in two different results.

Employee A in Batangas tried to nicely talk to her supervisor about the issue.

Employee A lived in Batangas and was assigned in a popular shopping mall in Lipa. There’s not a lot of public transportation in the province, and it would take her almost two hours of walking to get to her place of work. Hence, she called her supervisor to explain the situation. Afterwards, she formalized her request by writing the following letter to the company:


The Request Letter to excuse her from work was matter-of-fact, apologetic, and informed management that her refusal to work is not due to stubbornness but rather because of the smaller number of public transportation, which is true.

Her request was then duly acknowledged and approved.

Meanwhile, Employee B refused to report and was antagonistic against the company.

First, she asked her mother to text the supervisor.

When the supervisor woke up, she saw the following text message on her phone. Allegedly, this was sent by the mother of Employee B:

good morning po mam.parents po ako ni XXXXXX XXXXX. sapilitan po b tlaga kayo magppsok…? at saka po hindi po kayo pwede magtanggal o mag awoll ng tao nyo at hindi rin po sya pwede magresign di po ba yan po ang nakasaad ngayon sa batas ng dole.kung sa tulong po na sinasabi nyo karapatan nyo po yon hindi po sya humingi sa inyo kusa nyo po yon binigay.nagpapasalamat po kmi dun… mam sana po nanunuod po kayo ng balita at sana po naintindihan nyo po lahat ng pinapatupad n batas.at kung magkasakit po ang anak ko sasagutin nyo po lahat.papapasukin ko po sya ngayon oras n may mangyari sa kanya kayo po ang mananagot.kc wala pong biyahe ngayon nilalakad nya lang po pauwi.dapat po kc may service po kayo sa mga tao nyo pwede po kayo mamilit ng tao n papasok kung yon po ang ginagawa nyo.sana po maintindihan nyo po ako.salamat po.

In English, it translated to Good morning Ma’m. I’m the mother of XXXXX XXXX. Are you forcing her to work? You know you cannot terminate people or allow them to resign based on DOLE Rules? Regarding the financial assistance you gave (during ECQ), you gave it freely. We thank you for the financial aid. Ma’m, I hope that you watch the news, and you can understand the law. If my daughter gets sick, you are liable for it. I will ask her to report now but if something happens to her, you will be responsible. Because there’s no public transport so she just walks to and from work. You need to provide shuttle service to force people to report to work. I hope that you understand where we are coming from.”

Imagine if you’re the supervisor and you woke up reading the following text. How would you feel? What would be your reaction? How would you handle it?

The first was confusion.

How is asking someone to report to work worthy of a toxic tirade that accuses the company of unfairly treating the staff. Underneath the many words too contained a threat that the mother will not be afraid to complain to DOLE if the company insists to ask the staff to report to work.

Readers of this blog know that as long as the company has followed all the DOLE DTI Health Guidelines, there is no issue in mandating the staff to work if needed. Given her work is critical, she can be asked to report. If she cannot report, the company can only follow due process to terminate her, which by the way is legal.

Right to unsafe work

The Employee B was issued a Return to Work Order (RTWO) and a Notice to Explain on why she did not show up in her assigned shift, causing the store to stay closed.

If she continues not to report to work, she will be then called next week for an administrative meeting and will most likely be terminated.

Why was Employee A effective, but Employee B was very unproductive in terms of their requests?

This is a tale of two employees.

Both cannot show up to work.

However, the result varies.

This serves as a valuable lesson on how to talk to management.

Here’s why Employee A got what she wanted but Employee B did not. 

1) Nakiusap ng maayos si Employee A. 

If you need something from your employer, ask nicely. Always remember that you get more with honey and vinegar. And given that you’re asking for approval, it will never hurt if you asked in a very respectful, kind, and humble way.


Compared to Employee B, the first Employee talked directly to her supervisor, who manages her. She did not ask someone else who is not even employed in the company to speak on her behalf. If Employee B has a request, she needs to approach her manager personally, and not go through her mother.

She’s no longer 12 years old and an adult. The company will not deal with the parent because they are not the employee. The adult daughter is. The best way is to call the employer, make the request in a nice way, and see what they think.


Do not be pushy and demanding especially if you want them to give you consideration. Because it is very well in the employer’s rights to insist you report to work because it’s already GCQ.

2) The accusations were unfair: The Employee was never forced to report to work.

She is merely asked to do so. Whether or not she follows is her decision. She can very well not show up, but it is also her employer’s right to follow due process to terminate her if she continues not to show.

Please note that the Employee also borrowed money from the company during the ECQ with the CONDITION that she has to report to work once operations resume. The fact that she is saying she’s being forced is unfair. Nobody forced her to get the money from the CA during ECQ. She should fulfill the agreement she made.

3) The Employee saw the Employer in a negative light even though this was grossly unfair. 

When she needed help, the Employee was super nice and asked for help. However, when it was time to report, she disregarded the agreement she made and twisted facts.

The financial assistance she received carried the CONDITION that she had to report to work after ECQ is lifted.

This was explained to her in Tagalog. She agreed to the conditions — if she did not report back to work and went AWOL, she would have to pay the financial assistance back. All this was handwritten and sent to management before the money was given. However, when it was time to collect and ensure she follows her responsibilities, the Employees twisted facts and made it seem as if she did not ask for help.

This is very negative to the Employer and shows that the staff has no word of honor.

Hindi marunong sumunod sa pinagusapan. 

If you are employed, treat your employer fairly. Not every company is the enemy. Out of all the staff, only this employee saw that she was inaapi even though she was not, and framed her accusations in a way that was negative for the employer.

Huwag ganyan. When you talk to your employer, ALWAYS REMAIN POSITIVE and do not fight with your employer.

positive vibes

4) The employee is making up rules as she goes along. She is quoting Labor Law because of what she heard on the news without understanding the policies.

This can be annoying to an employer who follows the law. If hindi ka sigurado sa batas, please do NOT quote the law.

If you’re going to quote the law, you better make sure that you know what the law is. The labor code is google-able, and the Labor Advisories are widely available in the DOLE website. Read and understand BEFORE you threaten your employer with legal action.

Readers of my blog will know that in GCQ, it is not mandatory for companies to offer shuttle services anymore, not like in MECQ where companies have to provide shuttle services to force staff to report to work. And no, DTI is not DOLE.

She cannot also hold the company liable if she gets sick because the company has followed all DOLE DOH Rules on the Prevention of COVID-19, and because she has SSS and Philhealth coverage.

Liability of Employers

5) Her use of words is aggressive and demotivates the reader from giving her what she wants.

If you’re going to make requests with management, please avoid the following toxic words as follows:

  • Dapat”  — This means “Obliged” or “Mandatory.” Unless the Labor Law says so, nothing is dapat. Use the words, “Sana mayroon po kayo,” which means “If you may…” The difference of words make a world of difference to the reader.
  • Kailangan” — This means “Need.” The employee does not need a shuttle. She WANTS a shuttle. This is a difference. Because a shuttle service is not mandated by law.
  • “Di po kayo pwede” — This means “You are not allowed.” In this case, companies should never ask their staff to resign. I agree with this 100%. The problem is, the supervisor NEVER asked the staff to resign. The staff wanted to resign, but somehow gave a different story to her mom.
  • “Sana po naintindihan nyo po lahat ng pinapatupad n batas…” — The assumption is, the employer is unschooled with the law. The employer is not. It is the employee’s mother who does not know the law. She bases what she knows on the local news, while the employer has ensured he read up on the labor code before asking people to report.

Never be passive aggressive to an employer. Or frame a request as an obligation that an employer has to give you, if it is very clear by the law that it is NOT.

The employer is not your family, a relative or a friend. You are being paid fairly for a service and you are bound to your contract. Respect the relationship and do not treat your employer as someone you can bully because “kawawa ka.”

Pity has nothing to do with this. Likewise, an employer SHOULD also pay the staff if the staff provided the service even though business is bad. There’s no such thing as the employee sympathizing with the employer and forgiving the latter from not paying the payroll on time because wala nang pera ang negosyo.

At the End of the Day

If you need something from somebody else, lower your ego and ask nicely. It does not cost a single cent to be respectful and humble.

Always follow due process. Do not use sympathy to get what you want. Stay professional and frame your request as no pressure on the employer’s part, giving them the freedom to decide on your favor.

Do not lose your temper.


Never lose your cool and make demands with your employer just to get what you want. Chances are, you won’t get what you want if you approach your employer with anger and unfair accusations.

Especially at this crisis time, give and take is of utmost importance. With so many employers terminating large groups of people, it is crucial that both employers and employee work together to survive this crisis.

MANILA, June 5 (Xinhua) — At least 7.3 million Filipinos lost their jobs in April as the unemployment rate in the Philippines rose to a record high 17.7 percent due to the economic slowdown triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) said on Friday.

“This is a record high in the unemployment rate, reflecting the effects of COVID-19 economic shutdown to the Philippine labor market,” PSA Head Claire Dennis Mapa said in a virtual media briefing.

The unemployment rate in January 2020 was 5.3 percent while in April 2019, it was recorded at 5.1 percent.

“In terms of the magnitude, the number of unemployed persons increased by 5 million from 2.3 million in April 2019 to 7.3 million in April 2020,” Mapa said.

coronavirusSource: Rappler 

Gone are the days when employees have the upper hand. Now, everyone is just barely surviving.

So if you still have jobs, huwag maginarte and make sure that you cooperate with your employers so that you won’t get laid off due to bad economic numbers.

And if you’re an employer, be reasonable if the employee asks in a very nice and reasonable manner.

Have a great weekend ahead!



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2 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Employees and a Valuable Lesson How to Talk to Your Employer

  1. Thank you for sharing this. True, words can make or break. May our lips be mouthpieces of peace and encouragement.

    1. The manner is as important as the content. Most employers will give way naman if the employees ask nicely.

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