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Go to work sick or take a day off and forego a bonus? It’s not as clear cut as it seems, say employees

DIFFERENT POLICIES

Companies CNA spoke to had been blended of their implementation of comparable insurance policies. 

A spokesperson for DFI Retail Group, which manages the Giant and Cold Storage supermarkets, mentioned the group does not have a no-medical go away incentive. 

“Our team members are given time off to go for their booster shots and recuperate as needed, and we have a strict policy mandating that sick employees should not return to work until they have fully recovered to ensure everyone’s safety,” the spokesperson mentioned. 

Security company Soverus does not have a no-medical go away incentive for its safety officers, mentioned its managing director Kelvin Goh. 

“We believe that medical leave is an entitlement for the officers. We do not want to have officers who are unwell to come back to work, because they want to get the no-MC incentive,” he informed CNA. 

Adding that a no-medical go away incentive is “not a necessity”, Mr Goh mentioned that operational points due to last-minute MCs might be mitigated by having a small pool of standby officers for every shift. 

“While this may cause an increase in cost, we feel that it is still better than to have a sick officer who is unable to perform his duties properly at work,” he added. 

“Of course, if the number of officers exceeds the number of standby officers that we have, we end up with a shortage of manpower for that shift and have to explain to the clients.”

Instead of a no-medical go away incentive, Soverus provides incentives based mostly on punctuality, not taking unpaid go away and no complaints from shoppers or members of the general public, mentioned Mr Goh. He declined to touch upon whether or not no-medical go away incentives are frequent within the safety business. 

The safety company additionally has a reward system for officers who obtain commendations from shoppers or members of the general public. There is a quarterly bonus or incentives pegged to a quarter of the officers’ salaries, he added.

But at pest management company PestBusters, no-medical go away incentives have been in place since “day one in 1991”, mentioned its human capital supervisor Steffi Choon. She did not present particulars about how the inducement works, and how a lot it is value. 

The incentives are in place to enhance productiveness and guarantee staff are rewarded for his or her exhausting work, she added. “These are role models for others to emulate.” 

So far, the inducement is “working very well” and the corporate’s human assets workforce ensures that employees “understand why this no-MC is an added bonus to them”, mentioned Ms Choon. 

Despite the incentives, employees do not ignore their well being or COVID-19 measures to come to work, she mentioned. 

“We do have two days (where staff can) call in sick with no MC to be produced. We encourage all staff to see a doctor if they are not feeling well. This is to protect co-workers and their families,” mentioned Ms Choon. 

If an worker continues to work regardless of not feeling properly, they are going to be counselled and persuaded to relaxation “as we treasure each staff”, she added. 

Other corporations have extra lenient insurance policies or adjusted their no-medical go away incentives with COVID-19. 

At compressor firm Aerzen Asia, the typical variety of sick days taken amongst all employees will act as the “threshold” every year. Anyone who has fewer than the typical – usually round three days – will qualify for a reward, mentioned its managing director Chuck Lim. 

The firm allocates S$200 value of grocery store vouchers for every of its 20 employees. The vouchers for individuals who did not qualify for the rewards can be cut up amongst those that did. 

The scheme inspired “MC kings and queens” who used to take medical go away “as and when they like” not to achieve this anymore, mentioned Mr Lim. 

Of 20 employees, 17 certified for the reward this 12 months, he mentioned. 

“It’s not about taking MCs if you’re sick. If you’re sick, of course you’re sick. But they tend to keep themselves healthier, and it is a bit of recognition,” he mentioned, including that the rewards are usually given out earlier than Chinese New Year. 

“I’ve thought-about growing the inducement, however I don’t need to run afoul of what’s taking place, within the sense that if they’ve the flu they arrive to work and they unfold it, that’s going to be the worst state of affairs. I don’t need that,” he mentioned. 

“I’m trying to strike a balance where they are incentivised but at the same time not being overly zealous in trying to get the reward.” 

Other corporations within the business do have zero-MC insurance policies, mentioned Mr Lim, including that he does make use of engineers and technicians which are troublesome to change once they go on medical go away. 

“That’s how I got here up with the concept. Zero is … it’s possible you’ll as properly don’t give (incentives). I don’t need folks in the event that they’re sick, they’ve a fever and they arrive to work. They’re working equipment and that’s harmful. I don’t need that, so I give them some leeway, cut them some slack.”

MAKING WAY FOR MORE FLEXIBILITY

Experts agreed that such incentives ought to not be too inflexible. 

No-medical go away insurance policies might not be sustainable or translate into long-term dedication as a result of employees can’t constantly obtain zero-MCs for 4 to 5 years, mentioned SUSS lecturer Dr Chia.

“With this kind of policies, one of the biggest issues that I see is that you’re creating a norm … If you’re truly sick or just (have) mild symptoms, you actually mask the symptoms and come to work because I want to get that bonus. You’re actually increasing the risk of spreading infectious diseases in your company.” 

This breeds a work tradition the place employees might worth a financial bonus over their very own well being and security or that of their colleagues, he mentioned. 

Such insurance policies might also masks the actual explanation why employees take medical go away once they do not want it. For instance, absenteeism might be due to poor management, the work setting or being overworked, mentioned Dr Chia. 

“If people are just avoiding work because they don’t find work meaningful, or they find work stressful, or they find that they’re not appreciated or they’re fatigued, then you can have this policy but you’re not resolving the actual problem at work,” he added. 

Incentive insurance policies ought to adapt to totally different conditions and be utilized to totally different age teams, particularly in Singapore, which is transferring in direction of a multi-generational workforce, mentioned SHRI’s Mr Goh. 

“A lot of these policies were designed in a pre-COVID world. In a post-COVID world, if we really think about it whereby the emphasis is on social and personal responsibility, then you’re driving a very wrong behaviour if you still continue to dangle a carrot, or this incentive,” he added. 

With extra folks resigning from their jobs all over the world “fed up because of all these rigid policies”, these insurance policies have a “finite shelf life” with adjustments in social norms, mentioned Mr Goh. 
 
“If we really look at the current climate, there must be a new people construct in terms of how you’re going to lead the workforce today and tomorrow. If you think that you as a business leader could lead your organisation with an authoritative top-down approach, I think you’re on the wrong path.” 

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