Taking Medical Certificates (MCs) are inefficient, why do we still continue this practice?
Businesses should consider an uncertified system of sick leave
What are your views on this matter?
Falling sick. You know how it feels. Sniffles, feverish, scratchiness in your throat. You know you’re going to fall sick.. soon. But no need for a doctor right? All you need is good ol’ rest, some H20 and maybe a Panadol or two.
How nice would it be to just have to call your boss and let him/her know you’ll self-medicate and be moaning in bed for a day. No ned for the hassle of snaking queues at the doctor’s. Save money, save time. But no, no, no… many bosses here still want a medical certificate to “prove” that staff are really as sick as they say. This magazine feels there is a need for a more dynamic sick leave system that allows for uncertified sick leave.
Why do we need an MC?
A study published by The Independent in July this year revealed that the typical worker in the United Kingdom took an average of 6 days sick leave a year. This number should not differ much between countries since it’s human to fall sick. Why should companies not implement an “honour system” of sick leave, where staff don’t need to produce medical certificates every instance they fall sick. One highly plausible reason could be a general distrust between organisations and their employees. An article in The Straits Times earlier this year highlighted that employers were concerned with abuse of the honour system should it be implemented.
Yes, an honour system might leave loopholes for abuse. But if employees really want to abuse the leave system, feigning illness (or keng-ing, in colloquial speak) for a medical certificate is no difficulty at all! To add salt to the wound, if an employee feigns illness for a medical certificate, it’s the company that will pick up the tab of the doctor’s fee!
More gain than loss
On the other hand, companies save when staff are allowed to self-medicate. No hefty bills for doctor visits and medication. With the implementation of an honour system for sick leave, employers demonstrate that they want to start building a system of trust where employees take charge of their health and sick leaves responsibly. Nationally, healthcare resources are freed up as doctors won’t have to deal with individuals who are just there to sneak a medical certificate and can apportion their time to genuine patients. Individually, we save time, effort and hassle when popping a pill and getting rest would be more effective.
Drawing The Line
A blanket implementation of the honour system might be shocking. Safeguards need to be put in place (at least at the very start) to guard against abuse of the system. Here are some recommended protection measures:
• Only applicable for confirmed staff
• Ony X number of uncertified sick leaves a year
• Not applicable on Mondays, Fridays as well as before or after a long weekend
• Not applicable for days in between a public holiday and a weekend
• Not applicable if absent for more than a day
Five Stars and a Moon would love to hear stories from both employers, employees and companies who have implemented such a system, or would like to resist it.