Parliament: Community hospitals to be added to Employment Act as approved institutions for medical leave

The Employment Act currently does not include community hospitals, which typically take in patients who are not critically ill but may require several weeks of rehabilitation.
The Employment Act currently does not include community hospitals, which typically take in patients who are not critically ill but may require several weeks of rehabilitation.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The authorities will update the Employment Act to include community hospitals on the list of approved medical institutions for hospitalisation leave, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo on Monday (Sept 10).

Currently, the Act does not include such hospitals, which typically take in patients who are not critically ill but may require several weeks of rehabilitation.

"The Manpower Ministry intends to work with the Ministry of Health to update this list, and will consult the tripartite partners before finalising it," Mrs Teo said.

She was replying to Nominated MP K. Thanaletchimi, who had asked about the status of such hospitals.

Speaking to The Straits Times, Ms Thanaletchimi, who is the president of the Healthcare Services Employees' Union, said the move is significant for employees who are admitted to a community hospital.

This hospitalisation period is sometimes counted against the 14 days' medical leave some may be entitled to for the year, instead of the 46 days' hospitalisation leave entitlement, she added.

In Parliament, Mrs Teo pointed out that many community hospital patients are not directly admitted, but referred there by acute hospitals. Such hospitalisation leave issued by a doctor from an acute hospital remains valid under the Employment Act, even if the patient is subsequently transferred to a community hospital.

She added that with the update, hospitalisation leave issued for patients directly admitted to a community hospital will be recognised under the Employment Act, similar to stays in other public hospitals.