Editor’s note 4.30pm: SIA has responded to Mothership.sg’s queries on Sarah Tan’s post. It said, “We do not comment on individual employee matters. However for the avoidance of doubt, the views expressed in the post that you provided are not the views of the Company.”

In case you weren’t updated over the whole Singapore Airlines (SIA) cabin crew taking medical leave saga, here’s a quick rundown:

1) After news of the death of an SIA stewardess during a long-haul flight, several people claiming to be ex-SIA cabin crew have commented on Facebook regarding SIA’s MC policy and how taking MCs are frowned upon.

2) They said that cabin crew would be penalised during performance reviews if they had taken “casual MCs”. Casual MCs are for minor ailments such as stomachache and fever.

3) SIA responded by saying that working with a MC is a “disciplinary lapse”. SIA also said that crew are “encouraged to rest and recuperate at home” when on medical leave. SIA also said “there is no reward for maintaining an MC-free record.” It declined to reveal more about its performance appraisal when asked by Straits Times.

Enter “Sarah Tan” and her outburst against keyboard warriors

A netizen shared screenshots of a Facebook post by a Sarah Tan who wrote that “crew who are on long term MC … just sit around in office doing nothing because of the jobs skills level they have.”

This is what she had to say first:

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It would seem that the post was also made known to SIA, who responded that they were reviewing it internally with their staff:

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The post also shared a photograph of what looked like an internal staff directory.

A “Sarah Tan” was listed as part of “Talent Management” and her roles include “Crew Promotion Exercise”:

sarah tan

But the issue is more than just a lady throwing shade at SIA cabin crew over the MC saga.

Is SIA’s policy of asking staff with long-term MC to work in line with the Employment Act?

According to the internal circular issued on Feb. 8, SIA management reassured staff about the medical leave by saying,

“We are guided by MOM policies with respect to paid sick leave as “a basic protection” under the Employment Act. In fact, our paid sick leave benefits under the collective agreements with our unions exceed the requirements under the Employment Act…

We do recognize that people do fall sick and we firmly encourage crew to rest and not to operate when they are not well”.

Under the Employment Act on the Ministry of Manpower website, employees are entitled to paid sick leave if the following conditions are met:

He/she have served his/her employer for at least 3 months.
He/she have informed or tried to inform your employer within 48 hours of your absence.
His/her sick leave is certified by the company’s doctor, company-approved doctor or a government doctor (including doctors and dentists from approved public medical institutions).

MOM: All employers should excuse their employees from work if they are on sick or hospitalisation leave in accordance with the doctors’ instructions.

Mothership.sg has contacted MOM for comments on companies requiring its employees who are on long-term MCs to work in the office.

The spokesperson said:

“MOM expects all employers to excuse their employees from work if they are on sick or hospitalisation leave in accordance with the doctors’ instructions. This allows employees who are ill, to obtain medical care and recover, and can prevent further transmission of contagious illnesses at the workplace. Paid sick and hospitalisation leave is a basic protection under the Employment Act and is also a core benefit in collective agreements.”

Mothership.sg has also contacted SIA to ascertain whether the “Sarah Tan” who made the Facebook post is working in SIA.

We have also asked SIA for comments on Tan’s claim that cabin crew on long-term MC work in the office.

SIA said:

“We do not comment on individual employee matters. However for the avoidance of doubt, the views expressed in the post that you provided are not the views of the Company.”

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