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Days numbered for sick leave incentive schemes in Singapore

SINGAPORE: Companies that have schemes that incentivize employees from not using sick leaves may face enforcement soon, according to the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices (TAFEP).

“Tripartite partners recognise that incentive schemes that consider statutory sick leave utilisation are not in the best interest of employees and the workplace,” the TAFEP said in a FAQ posted on the Ministry of Manpower website.

As of January 1, 2023, the following examples of practices regarding legally required sick leaves are prohibited:

  • Providing employees with incentives for not taking sick leaves for a period of time

  • Offering encashment for unused sick leaves

  • Using the number of paid sick leave used by an employee as “demerits” during promotions and appraisals

Employers can still provide incentives for taking unpaid leaves, incentives for hitting key performance indicators, and encashable flexible benefits.

“Employees who are unwell should seek medical attention for their own, and their co-workers’ well-being, and they should not be dis-incentivised from doing so,” TAFEP said.

Singapore employees are entitled to up to 14 days of paid outpatient sick leave and 60 days of paid hospitalisation leave (that includes the above mentioned 14 days), depending on the employee’s period of service.

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