Candy Tan
Hi, My company is in Asia with HQ in Europe. Currently our travel policy in Asia and Europe is any staff who travel with more than 4 hours flight are entitled to business class.

Our Asia company management would like to change the policy as 4 hours flight for business class entitlement is far too costly for travelling within Asia. Europe would not be changing this policy. They would like to remain status quo. However, our Asia company management would want to strike a balance for fairness. They do not wish to increase the flight duration to 6 hours or 10 hours to be entitled to business class as it will seem to be unfair to Asia company staff when our Europe HQ still remain as 4 hours.

They also do not wish to give entitlement base on their designation i.e. Senior management entitled to business class whereas junior management entitled to economy class.

It is indeed a dilemma situation for me as HR in the company whereby there is no best solution to please everyone in the company. However, would you have any suggestions that I can propose to my management?

Would really appreciate your help with this as this is a test to me by my management to prove my capabilities to solve their staff travel benefits and policy issue.

Thank you for your help in advance.

From Singapore, Singapore
Ed Llarena, Jr.


This case is a typical Asian business mindset, that looks at Asians as an inferior being compared to Westerners (Europeans/ Americans)---- and therefore should be given LESS benefits than their counterparts in the HQ. The allegation of cost is a very shallow alibi to justify the intent and modify an existing international company policy.

Although compensation and benefits are generally adjusted to regional locations, there are companies (esp those that are 100% foreign owned subsidiaries) that implement HQ pay and benefit policies in all their offices/ subsidiaries. This is the area that you have to look into very carefully. Generally, local partners/ investors feel a certain sense of excessiveness when pay & benefits in Europe/ America are given unilaterally to local employees--- including executives.

When a multinational/ international company decides to adopt and implement its HQ policies for all its offices worldwide (regardless of operational location), any policy modification that would tend to distinguish employee benefits would be suspect.

In a previous company, our EVP decided to change the benefit package of our engineers sent to the HQ on interim assignment (for reasons of excessiveness compared to local standards). The reduced benefits created a problem of unfairness (& discrimination) when the employees later learned that they were given less than their counterparts. The engineers felt more bad when they were told that it was their home (local) office that made the changes. So, the HQ blamed the local subsidiary for the problem, and made them pay the withheld benefits differential ---- which were eventually given back to our engineers.

Best regards.

Ed Llarena, Jr.

Managing Partner

Emilla International Consulting Services

From Philippines, Parañaque

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