Medical Declaration On Application Form

What is the rationale for a medical declaration on a job application form in Singapore? Can HR not select a candidate due to the medical declaration?

In Singapore, including a medical declaration on a job application form serves several important purposes:

Ensuring Fitness for the Job: Employers should ensure that candidates are physically and mentally capable of performing the job. This is particularly important for roles that involve physical labour, high stress or require specific health conditions.

Workplace Safety: For positions that involve operating machinery, handling hazardous materials, or working in high-risk environments, knowing an employee’s medical condition is crucial for maintaining workplace safety. It helps to prevent accidents and ensure that all safety protocols are tailored to the employees’ health needs.

Legal and Insurance Requirements: Employers are often required by law to provide a safe working environment, which includes understanding any health risks employees might pose to themselves or others. Furthermore, insurers might require medical information to assess risks and determine coverage terms for workplace injury or health insurance policies.

Reasonable Accommodations: Considering employment guidelines such as the Tripartite Guidelines on Fair Employment Practices in Singapore, employers are encouraged to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities or chronic health conditions. A medical declaration helps employers identify and plan workplace adjustments.

Preventing Discrimination: Although there is a fine line to walk regarding medical information and discrimination, the intent is not to discriminate but to ensure that employees are placed in roles suitable for their health conditions. Employers are expected to handle such information with strict confidentiality and use it solely for job suitability and safety.

Regulatory Compliance: Certain industries in Singapore, such as aviation, maritime, and healthcare, have specific regulatory requirements that mandate health screenings and medical fitness declarations to ensure that employees meet the health standards required for the job.

Overall, the rationale for requiring a medical declaration is to balance the employer’s need to create a safe and efficient workplace with the rights and well-being of the employee. Employers must handle this information sensitively and in compliance with relevant privacy and employment laws to avoid discrimination and ensure a fair hiring process

In Singapore, for example, employers must adhere to the Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) when collecting, using, or disclosing personal data, including health information. Employers are generally advised to collect medical information directly relevant to the job requirements or to comply with statutory obligations.

This means that any medical declaration in the job application process should be carefully designed to ensure it does not infringe on the candidate’s privacy rights unnecessarily. Employers should provide clear information about why the medical information is being requested, and how it will be used, and ensure that such information is kept confidential and is accessible to those who need to know for legitimate business or legal reasons.

It’s also important for employers to be mindful of the principles of fairness and transparency when requesting medical information and consider the relevance of the information to the job role. Unnecessary probing into an applicant’s medical history without direct relevance to job requirements can be seen as discriminatory.

If you’re an employer or HR professional drafting such a declaration form review the guidelines provided by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Personal Data Protection Commission (PDPC) of Singapore to ensure compliance with local laws and regulations.

Addressing non-selection for a job role due to a medical condition is a sensitive and complex issue that touches on various legal, ethical, and human resource management aspects. Both employers and candidates must navigate this area with care, ensuring fairness, inclusivity, and compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

Employers are encouraged to select candidates based on their ability to perform the job, rather than on factors such as age, race, gender, or disability, which includes medical conditions. When a job application is declined due to a medical condition, employers must ensure that the decision is strictly based on the candidate’s inability to perform the job’s essential functions, even with reasonable accommodation.

Employers should conduct a thorough job analysis to determine the core requirements of the role and assess whether a candidate’s medical condition truly prevents them from fulfilling these requirements.

It’s also essential for employers to engage in a fair and transparent communication process with the candidate, explaining clearly if the decision is related to the inherent requirements of the job that cannot be accommodated without undue hardship to the organisation.

Both parties should focus on the ability to perform the job effectively, rather than on the medical condition itself. Employers and candidates should approach these situations with an open mind, seeking mutually beneficial solutions wherever possible.

HRSINGAPORE’S HR Consultancy Services, HR Certification, HRLAW Seminars, and HR Training courses can provide further support and guidance on creating inclusive and fair employment practices.

How often do you incorporate a medical declaration in your job application forms, and what is your primary reason for including it?

Always, to assess if candidates can meet job requirements. 7.69%

Sometimes, for specific roles requiring health assessments. 61.54%

Rarely, only when absolutely necessary. 7.69%

Never, to avoid potential privacy and discrimination issues. 23.08%

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