There are so many home remedies for illnesses and as stubborn Asians, we all just “drink more vitamin C” and sleep it off when we’re feeling under the weather.
But the worst thing about falling sick is needing to drag your sick self to the nearby clinic for a MC and spreading more germs everywhere.
It makes sense to not go to work while sick to not infect your colleagues, but why shouldn’t that same logic be applied to other places like the clinic, especially if it’s just a common cold?
After all, if you’re too sick to work, then shouldn’t you be too sick to leave the house?
In Malaysia, the Employment Act 1955 states that employees are entitled to a minimum number of sick leaves in accordance to their length of service with the company:-
1. Less than 2 years of services: 14 days
2. More than 2 years, less than 5 years: 18 days
3. More than 5 years: 22 days
However, employees also have their obligations to the company. In Section 60F(2) of the Employment Act, it outlines conditions for a proper sick leave:
1. the requirement of medical certification (MC) by a registered medical practitioner or a medical officer or a dental surgeon, or
2. informing your employer of said sick leave within 48 hours with an MC.
If these conditions are not met, employees will be deemed absent from work without permission.
For the most part, employers and employees have a trust-based system: that employees will not abuse taking medical leaves, and that employers will not doubt their employees.
However, whether or not an MC is strictly required for your sick leave is completely up to your company.
According to Muslim Nazari, Talent Acquisition Specialist at edotco Group, it’s more common for startups or smaller companies to be lenient with their sick leaves and not demand an MC.
Even so, it’s still advisable to see a medical professional if you’re feeling ill to ensure that your sickness isn’t worse than you assumed.Muslim Nazari to TRP
However, things get complicated when larger companies apply that same stipulation.
Depending on the size of the company, number of employees taking sick leaves, and the frequency of leaves, it could be extremely costly for the company.
Yet it’s also been noted that one common reason for taking sick leave is “to rest“. Apparently, with the rise of “always-on” working culture, some employees are resorting to taking sick leaves to get some proper rest.
This points to an actual cause for concern, since KL city has one of the worst work-life balance globally out of 40 international cities.
However, taking sick leaves for personal rest isn’t fair to the company. After all, according to the Employment Act 1955, employees are entitled to annual leaves in accordance to employment period as well:-
1. Less than 2 years: Not less than 8 days per year
2. More than 2 years, less than 5 years: Not less than 12 days per year
3. More than 5 years: Not less than 16 days per year
People oftentimes use sick leave to get rest, which is detrimental to themselves and others as it’s unplanned leave.Muslim Nazari to TRP
It’s better if people pace themselves and plan their leave. Managers should take this into consideration and encourage their teammates to get enough rest from work.
It’s understandable to feel tired- after all, we’re only human. However, the employee must also be responsible for their own mental health and properly plan and apply for breaks. After all, that’s what annual leaves are for.
Ultimately, employees should take care of their own health with the leaves offered by their employers.
Just remember that your health should always come first!
Anne is an advocate of sustainable living and the circular economy, and has managed to mum-nag the team into using reusable containers to tapau food. She is also a proud parent of 4 cats and 1 rabbit.