26 September 2023

SINGAPORE: PS mental-health friendly — Minister

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The Minister in Charge of the Singapore Public Service says Agencies no longer require job applicants to declare their medical health history, including mental health.

Speaking in response to a question in Parliament, Chan Chun Sing (pictured) said that provision had been in place since 1 May 2017 when the Public Service Division (PSD) removed all declaration questions on medical health from job application forms.

The question came from Nominated Member of Parliament, Anthea Ong who asked about the Public Service’s response to the latest guidelines by the Tripartite Alliance for Fair and Progressive Employment Practices.

The guidelines state that it is discriminatory to ask job applicants to declare their mental health condition without good reason.

They also called for all declarations on mental health condition to be removed from job application forms.

Ms Ong also asked for the number of applicants who declared their mental health condition and joined the Public Service.

Mr Chan said the Government did not track those figures.

“The Public Service is committed to providing its officers with an inclusive and mental health-friendly workplace,” Mr Chan said.

“This includes access to counselling and alternative work arrangements for those with mental health conditions to better manage their condition or recovery, as well as getting the Health Promotion Board to teach managers how to detect early signs of mental illness.”

Ms Ong brought up the case of an individual who applied as a relief teacher but was rejected due to a history of depression.

Mr Chan said Ms Ong could follow up with the Ministry of Education or the PSD.

She also wanted to know if the Government allowed its employees to apply for mental health leave and make medical claims for psychiatric treatment.

Mr Chan said the Public Service did not have mental health leave “at this point in time”.

“However, I am sure if somebody for medical exigencies needs extra care, they can contact their respective supervisors and we can work out the appropriate arrangements,” he said.

Singapore, 5 February 2020

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