WORKPLACE HEALTH INCENTIVES SICK LEAVE
Malaysia – Employees who remain healthy and fit – and do not take sick leave – could be rewarded under a new incentive being promoted by the Health Ministry.
Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said it is time an incentive-based system is introduced to encourage more Malaysians to adopt a healthy lifestyle, The Star reported.
“It could be something like the car insurance policy where one gets NCB (no-claims bonus),” said Liow. “Give them such incentives to live healthily. It is all about using a positive approach.”
The latest National Health and Morbidity Survey 2011 showed statistics for non-communicable diseases (NCD) in Malaysia have not improved, while the number of obese Malaysians has swollen to about 2.6 million.
Liow said although Malaysians are aware of the reasons why they must live a healthy lifestyle, many struggle to translate it into action.
Shamsuddin Bardan, executive director of the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) supports the new approach and said many employers have already taken these suggestions on board.
“When attendance incentives are introduced, employers are sometimes accused of trying to encourage employees to come to work even when they are sick. But the incentives are aimed at reducing the abuse of sick leave,” he said.
Datuk T. Thavalingam, a labour law expert, told The Star an incentive like this could benefit both bosses and employees, as staff become more productive by remaining healthy, while earning a little extra money.
Liow said this rewards scheme is a better option than a ‘punishment’ approach that had been suggested to him, where employees with waistlines exceeding 74cm to 76.2cm (29 to 30 inches) would be subject to certain kinds of action.
In countries like Korea and Japan, a healthy lifestyle is “enforced” by some employers who shun the overweight.
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