Employers That Insist on Having MC for COVID-19 Infections May Have Work Pass Privileges Suspended


Remember when a bunch of ministries and Ho Ching said that employers shouldn’t request medical certificates (MCs) for COVID-19 infections?

Many people were concerned that employers wouldn’t abide by these recommendations, since they weren’t enforced by the government.

If you were one of those people, rejoice and send this article to your HR departments now. Employers that insist on MCs may have their work pass privileges suspended, in an update by the Manpower Ministry.

Advisory Issued: Absence Should Be Taken as Paid Sick Leave, No Need for MC

An advisory was issued by the tripartite partners, comprising the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) and Singapore National Employers Federation. The advisory states that employees infected with COVID-19 should be allowed to work from home if they’re not sick.

However, if they’re physically unwell, employers should treat the worker’s isolation period as paid sick leave without asking for an MC. Employers also shouldn’t be asking for recovery memos and should take a negative antigen rapid test (ART) result as proof of recovery.

And perhaps the most important guideline: employees should not be asked to take no-pay leave for their isolation period.

Work Pass Privileges May Be Suspended If Found Not Complying With Advisory

Nee Soon GRC’s Mr Louis Ng asked if employers would face any penalty should they fail to follow the advisory.

And it is a fair point of concern for many Singaporeans. Just look at the Facebook comments under our previous article about this:

Image: Facebook

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In a written reply, Manpower Minister Tan See Leng said that if any employer doesn’t comply with the advisory without good reason, employees should approach MOM for help. MOM will then fact-check with the employers and tell them to follow the advisory.

So far, MOM hasn’t met any employer who purposely refuses to comply with the advisory after learning about it. But unreasonable employers do exist, and if MOM meets any such employers, their work pass privileges may be suspended.

To protect your welfare, send this article to your HR departments now, so that they can’t say they don’t know this advisory exists if MOM comes knocking. 

Dr Tan also added that tripartite advisories are meant to guide employers on implementing employment practices in a fair and responsible manner.

The advisories are issued after lots of consideration of both employer and employee interests, and employers are expected to comply.

Basically, these advisories have the same energy as the phrase “strongly encouraged”, which means you must do lah.

You might want to watch this video to know what you should do should you be infected with COVID-19:

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