Sick leave: Are staff eligible for paid time off after a TCM visit?

Do MCs from a TCM practitioner count?

Sick leave: Are staff eligible for paid time off after a TCM  visit?

If your employee visited a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioner, are they eligible for paid sick leave?

Employees should still be excused from work based on the medical certificate, according to the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

However, whether it counts as paid sick leave depends on a number of things, one being whether the TCM practitioner is registered.

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo stated that under the Employment Act, all employers are required to grant paid outpatient sick leave to employees with MCs issued by any medical practitioner registered under the Medical Registration Act (MRA).

TCM practitioners can also be registered, if they fulfil the requirements of the MRA. The TCM’s status can be verified if you’re unsure about granting paid leave.

Regardless, MOM reminded employers that they have the discretion to count the TCM medical note as paid sick leave. Once decided, employers need to be clear and consistent with the company practice.

READ MORE: Sick leave in Singapore: Are MCs mandatory?

“As TCM plays a complementary role in Singapore's healthcare system, employers have the discretion to also recognise MCs issued by [registered practitioners],” said MOM.

“Many employers grant paid sick leave for MCs issued by an overseas doctor or TCM practitioner. They have the discretion to do so.”

The practice of submitting medical certificates to take sick leave has evolved in Singapore. In the past, legislation stated that only hardcopy certs from government or company-appointed were accepted.

Currently, MOM urges employers to allow MCs from private doctors and TCM practitioners.

SingHealth, Singapore’s largest public healthcare group, is also moving to replace hardcopies with digital medical certs by 2020.

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