The Wonders of the English Language – Reading the Lines Carefully

Reading today’s letter by Ministry of Manpower in the Forum in response to an earlier letter by SMA President Dr Chong Yeh Woei is an exercise in the appreciation of the precision of the English language. Let’s take a look at a few statements found in the reply by MOM.

 

“However, in order to take sick leave with pay, the Employment Act states that an employee needs to obtain a medical certificate from a company or government doctor” What it means in real life, therefore, is for paid medical leave, the Employment Act states that an employee needs to obtain a medical certificate from a company or government doctor. If you see your own family GP or private specialist, good luck.

 

Even if “MOM would like to reiterate that employers should recognise medical certificates issued by any registered medical practitioner for the purpose of being absent from work due to illness”, it doesn’t mean the employee would get any pay while away that comes with the employer’s “recognition” of the MC. So MOM’s bottom line is at best recognition of “unpaid  leave” when an employee sees a doctor that is not the company or government doctor.

 

 

“This is only a minimum requirement to the employer, and does not stop an employer from recognising a medical certificate from any doctor” – that means recognition is  at the employer’s discretion” and the recognition by the employer is NOT obligatory

 

How much protection does an employee really get from the word of legislation found in the Employment Act should he produce an MC from a doctor who is neither the government nor the company doctor remains to be seen. And really what good is an MC that comes without pay is for you to conclude.

 

This is wonderful civil servant-speak, of the sort that I thought PS2000 was supposed to get rid of. But then again, this is 2011. Oh well….

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