Are Sick Leaves Rewardable Or Punishable?

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More often than not, Singaporean companies offer a sick leave policy. The sick leave policy is crafted to provide salary and position continuation in the event of illness, injury, or hospitalization. Some of its forms translate to paid hospitalization leave and medical reimbursement. The necessary absence must be backed by a company doctor, company-approved doctor, or government doctor.

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This policy has a myriad of benefits. For starters, employees do not have to worry about losing money when the inevitable happens. Its mere existence can boost employee satisfaction. Moreover, it isolates the contamination of the illness. Sick employees will not have a chance to infect more people in the office.

Due to the buzz-worthy complaints by some Singapore Airlines cabin crew, issues surrounding this policy was in the limelight in the recent days. A Straits Times report showed that said crew members allegedly lost incentive points when they submit medical certificates (MC) for common ailments like colds or cough.

Is this a flaw in the company’s current sick leave system?

Well, the Director of Talent Acquisition at Quantum Leap Career Consultancy had his own take. Mr. Alvin Ang said: “I don’t think this is the right thing to do. You are using something which instills fear.”

One thing is for sure, this system is rare! Fear may be triggered due to the tangible sense of lower incentives. Employees must work towards a goal of minimizing their MC. It sends an intriguing message that we can control when we get ill. Since we do not have supernatural powers, some persistent employees turn up to work despite their alarming conditions.

Let us get down to business!

From the entrepreneurial standpoint, the primary problem that companies face is the loss of production. Loss of production happens when the employee was not able to accomplish his or her output for the day. Part-timers and interns may step up, but this will lead to reductions in their valued time. The added hassle leads to the loss of money.

In addition, co-workers who constantly have to cover for the sickly employee can develop personal resentment over the situation. Take note of this! This moral flaw in the work culture may hurt the company in the long run.

The final boiling problem rises from the employees who are less than honest about their health condition and personal lives. Say company Alpha has no robust sick leave policy in place. The company has an employee who submits MC twice a week. The employer cannot simply deduct the day from the employee’s salary due to the nature of the contract.

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Fortunately for you, there are many ways to fight against the employees who are abusing their allotted sick leaves. A sensible step to take is to examine the existing policy. Determine if you need to tweak some words, which encourage unscheduled absenteeism. Policies requiring the employee to file a report why they missed work may be helpful.

You may also confront the employee before things get out of hand. Privately discuss the reasons why he or she missed so much days. Support your claims by keeping a record of everyone’s attendance. Interview his or her peers if necessary.

Lastly, you must contemplate on the possibility of impaired mental health. Is your employee suffering from Psychological issues such as alcoholism or substance abuse? Consider providing counselling in your medical benefits.

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