New sick leave policy not for uniformed personnel

National 2 minutes, 32 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

THE self-certified sick leave policy which will come into effect on September 1 for civil servants is not applicable to uniformed personnel in the Royal Brunei Armed Forces or Royal Brunei Police Force.

However, civilians working under the Ministry of Defence and RBPF are allowed to apply for self-certified sick leave.

This was clarified by Safarah Hj Jamaludin, special duties officer II at the Public Service Department’s (JPA) Research and Planning Division, on the sidelines of a briefing for civil servants Thursday on self-certified sick leave held at the Civil Service Institute.

The briefing, which was delivered by Safarah, was followed by a question and answer session chaired by a panel comprising JPA Acting Director-General Hj Abdul Manap Othman, JPA directors and officers and an officer from the Ministry of Health.

JPA officers on the panel said every application for self-certified sick leave must be approved through SMS or any mobile application such as through WhatsApp by the employees’ respective head of department.

If an applicant calls the head of their department to ask for approval for self-certified sick leave, the head of the department must send a text message to approve the leave in writing.

According to JPA officers, the head of the department should not reply with an emoticon as Jthis is not accepted as a sign of approval for the self-certified sick leave.

A recent government circular released on the Prime Minister’s Office’s website stated that civil servants will be able to take self-certified sick leave for up to six days a year from September 1 this year.

The new policy meant that civil servants, including permanent or daily-paid staff, can take sick leave without a medical certificate issued by a government medical officer or from accredited private clinics. But civil servants’ annual leave will be deducted every time they take self-certified sick leave.

During the question and answer session, members of the panel said all heads of departments have the authority to approve or disapprove a self-certified sick leave application from a civil servant under their department.

The JPA in a press statement said the briefing on the circular issued on August 8 on the PMO’s website was aimed at providing an explanation on the benefits of self-certified sick leave.

The JPA said the self-certified sick leave policy won’t affect existing regulations governing medical certificates.

“Self-certified sick leave is exclusively meant for civil servants who are suffering from minor ailments and are incapable (due to illness) of going to the hospital and health clinics for treatment,” the JPA said in the statement.

These minor ailments include coughs and colds, hay fever, indigestion, back pain, migraines, constipation, toothaches and menstrual pain.

It was highlighted during the briefing that hospitals and health clinics accredited by the government will continue to issue medical certificates subject to the assessment of the medical officer treating the patient.

The JPA said the self-certified sick leave arrangement does not hinder a civil servant from seeing or seeking a medical officer for minor ailments.

The Brunei Times