Singapore Airlines’ sick leave saga: Questions for HR

Is a point-based medical leave system an effective productivity measure? Or is it a form of cost-cutting that signals trouble brewing at the airline? HRM Asia examines the issue

The recent case of Singapore Airlines (SIA) being investigated by the Ministry of Manpower for its alleged point-based medical leave system, begs a few questions.  

It was earlier reported that senior flight stewardess Vanessa Yeah's death in San Francisco on February 1 had prompted several crew members to speak out about the airline's sick leave policy.

Yeah was said to have been sick two days prior to her death.

Several crew members told The Straits Times anonymously that SIA has a 10-point rating, for which points are deducted when they take medical leave for common illnesses like cough and cold.

While not significant, these points are said to make up 5% of staff’s annual performance appraisals, which can affect their chances for promotion.