How Many Days of Sick Leave is Acceptable?

Dreading the end of CNY holiday and having to lug yourself back to office? 

Anyone contemplating calling in sick today?  If you manage to get 2 days MC from your doctor, you would have exactly 9 days off for CNY!  While it is only February and most would still have ample annual leave, it is always good to save your annual leave for emergencies and for your vacation later in the year. 

What’s more, you get to have the weekend off after Friday so you do not have to pretend to appear as weak and feeble or purposely make yourself look pale when you come into the office on Monday as you can just tell the boss that you have fully recovered over the weekend.

Sample of a typical Medical Certificate

Most employees in Singapore would be entitled to 14 days of paid medical leave in Singapore.  Under Ministry of Manpower’s rule, the number of days of paid leave that you are entitled to depends on your period of service, up to 14 days for paid sick leave and 60 days for paid hospitalisation leave.

The 60 days of hospitalisation leave includes the 14 days sick leave entitlement.  If you are a new employee, sick leave will be pro-rated according to your length of service.  Although there is a call on the government to encourage employers to allow their employees to take up to three days of non-consecutive sick leave each year without submitting medical certificates in parliament, it is still early days before that will materialize.

While we do know most, if not all of us would have abused the MC system in one way or another, be it to sleep in as we had partied too hard the night before, to run some errands, or simply just to have a day off to enjoy yourself while taking comfort that you are still being paid, there are some colleague whom you may know who are “siao onz” and have never taken a sick leave ever in their life. 

In fact to counter the issue of having employees who habitually call in sick, some companies are known to offer rewards or perks for model employee who do not call in sick during the year with either an additional annual incentive or extra bonuses at the end of the year.

For the rest of us, there is also supposedly a golden standard in the workplace or your Human Resource Department to distinguish if you are a model employee or a habitual MC King/Queen.

  • 0-2 days: The model employee
  • 3-4 days: Acceptable/Reasonable
  • 5-8 days: Not ideal, but still acceptable
  • 9-12 days: The employee has health issue
  • 13 to 18 days: A repeat offender a.k.a. habitual MC King/Queen
  • 19 to 30 days: They do not deserve an year-end bonus
  • More than 30 days: They are like thieves. They steal the credit of other employees who do show up to work every day.


Which type of employee are you?