Magazines Shouldn't Be Allowed to Screw Us Over

A lot of you have been asking what has happened, so you can read up on most of the drama in an article TODAY newspaper published. Here's the thing about the publishing industry - almost all of us do it for the passion but unfortunately, this love for the publishing industry is also our downfall. Grow a pair and stand up to the people who owe you money. Don't work for anything less than you deserve, and you know you deserve better than this.

Us editors, writers, stylists, makeup and hair artists and photographers aren't getting paid what we deserve and there are still people who get away with screwing us over. It's not right.

Most times, when you're employed as a freelancer, you agree to do a job out of goodwill and interest, because the person who contracted you is a friend, and out of trust, you don't get them to sign a contract of employment or any of that sort, so that puts you at risk. Make sure you know what your rights are, and don't keep quiet when people steal your intellectual property. Go to the Ministry of Manpower, go to the Small Claims Court - do something about it! Don't sit and have suffer dire emotional and monetary losses while unethical, gutless, corrupt employers walk away unscathed.

Many a times, we, writers, editors, stylists, make up and hair gurus, designers and photographers, the very people who put together the pages of a magazine, have suffered dire emotional and monetary losses we will never get back, and these unethical, gutless, corrupt employers walk away unscathed.

Yes, we're all in competition for jobs against each other, but when push comes to shove and when you have employers screwing people you know over, it's time you should take a stand.

What You Can Do To Protect Yourself

  • Read and understand the Employment Act. If you are not facing any employment issues at the moment, just read it for general knowledge. If you don't understand anything, buy your lawyer friend a glass of wine and have him/her explain it to you. If you don't know a lawyer, chat one up.
  • Note that The Singapore Employment Act does not apply to all employees. Instead, it applies only to "employees" as defined under the Act. Specifically, the Employment Act DOES NOT apply to:
    • Managerial & Confidential Positions Such a position is defined as the one where a person has direct authority or influence in the hiring, firing, promotion, transfer, reward or discipline of other employees; or the main duties involve management and running of the business; or the employee has access to classified information relating to terms of employment of other employees, or financial positions, business operations/trade secrets of employer.
    • Domestic Workers
    • Seamen
    • Most government staff
  • Employees earning below SGD 2000/month are provided additional protection (concerning "Rest Day, Hours of Work and Overtime, Public Holidays, Annual Leave, Sick Leave, Retrenchment Benefits, Retirement Benefits, Annual Wage Supplement and other variable payment") under Part IV of the Employment Act.
  • GuideMeSingapore.com offers a general introduction you can read.
  • If you are contracted by a company as a freelancer, make sure you have everything in writing [or email]. I practice sending quotations when a company has agreed with my terms and conditions. I have them sign the quotation and sentback to me before I proceed with the project at hand. This protects both you as the freelancer, and the company.
  • If you are a full-time staff, and you have not been paid by your employer for more than 7 days after the agreed date, immediately make an appointment at the Ministry of Manpower. You may do that easily online here.
  • However, if you are a freelancer, it's best to go through the Small Claims Tribunal. The site explains what you need to do, and the process of claiming the money that is rightfully yours.

If you're stuck in a dramatic employer-doesn't-pay-me rut and need advise on what to do, please feel free to drop me an email. Ah, what's a day without drama in thedramadiaries? ;o)