CIVIL servants will be able to take self-certified paid sick leave for up to six days a year from September 1 this year.
A government circular, which was released on the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) website, stated that the new regulations meant that civil servants can take sick leave without a medical certificate issued by a government medical officer or from accredited private clinics.
The new self-certified paid sick leave regulation will apply to all staff in the civil service, including those who are permanent or daily-paid.
Civil servants’ annual leave will be deducted every time they take a self-certified sick leave.
The PMO said the deduction of annual leave is one way of preventing government employees from abusing the self-certified sick leave arrangement.
It added that if the public servant does not have annual leave, each day of the self-certified sick leave will be treated as taking unpaid leave.
However, the government said several conditions must be met before civil servants can take self-certified sick leave.
It said government workers with minor ailments will not be allowed to take more than two consecutive days of self-certified sick leave, when the leave falls on the day before or after a general, public or special holiday.
The government defined minor ailments as not having long-term medical consequences, of low health risks and will not compromise the performance and safety of the civil servant.
In the event that the six-day self-certified sick leave has been fully used in a year, government wor-kers will then be required to produce a medical certificate.
If more than two consecutive days of the self-certifed sick leave is taken, a medical certificate for the third and consequent day(s) thereafter, will also be required.
Moreover, civil servants will not be permitted to use the self-certified sick leave to travel abroad.
Government employees who fall ill when working abroad will not be allowed to take the self-certified sick leave, the PMO added.
The civil servant must inform the head of department, section or unit by telephone and SMS, or through any mobile application such as WhatsApp within 24 hours of applying for the self-certified sick leave.
The PMO said failure to do so may result in the civil servant being considered absent without leave, or not giving any reason for his absence.
The application should then be verified by his or her superior who authorised the self-certified sick leave through phone, SMS or other mobile networking applications.
Applicants must also complete the self-certified sick leave form via the Government Employee Management System (GEMS) online, or fill in a physical form available in his or her respective department upon returning to work.
The self-certified sick leave cannot be applied on behalf, or for another person.
Those who do not use the six days of self-certified paid sick leave will not be able to bring it forward to the following year.
The PMO said heads of departments have an important role to play, and are responsible in monitoring self-certified sick leave applications to ensure it will not be abused.
In cases of abuse, the government employee’s performance appraisal and prospects for promotion will be affected.
In addition, the head of department may request a medical report and certification from a medical officer at any time.
Earlier in March this year, Minister of Health Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Zulkarnain Hj Hanafi was reported as saying using self-certification would improve productivity and help reduce the burden on government-run clinics. “We’re trying to put that responsibility on the individual person and the workplace, it’s all about trust,” he added.
The Brunei Times