Coronavirus: Singapore's healthcare workers forced to cancel holiday plans

Union offers support after annual leave systems were 'frozen'

Coronavirus: Singapore's healthcare workers forced to cancel holiday plans

Healthcare workers in Singapore’s public hospitals have had to cancel leave applications and holiday plans amidst the evolving virus outbreak.

Their annual leave systems have been ‘frozen’ in anticipation of handling a higher expected volume of patients, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

Employees whose leave applications were approved prior to this may be facing a loss in terms of booked air tickets and holiday packages. The Healthcare Services Employees’ Union has raised concern over the new directive.

The union is working closely with healthcare institutions, the Singapore National Employers Foundation (SNEF), NTUC and MOM to support affected workers.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Singapore preps for workers returning from China

Suggested measures include:

  • Employers provide affected healthcare workers with a letter of proof of the cancellation of leave. This is to support their requests for refunds from travel agents and insurance companies.
  • If the travel agent or travel insurance company are unable to refund in full, employers should help “defray the costs” incurred by the workers.
  • The union can assist healthcare workers who face difficulties with their refund claims.

During these uncertain period, the tripartite partners, including the union, will work with employers to “proactively address any issues and establish norms” for workers at the frontline of the outbreak.

They urge all organisations to offer more support and consideration.

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