HRSINGAPORE Community Discussions

Staff not declaring illness


Hi HR friends,

We recently hired a staff who did not declare her illness in the job application form.

After her employment, she submitted an MC and a letter from the hospital informing us about her health condition which requires medication and follow-up appointments.

As this is a concern, can we in the HR department request her or the hospital to provide a full medical report about her illness?

Appreciate any help.

Thank you.




It sounds like you are referring to a pre-existing medical condition here. I believe HR can request staff to obtain a medical report base on reasonable grounds since the employee did not declare the medical condition in truth at the point of hire. The employee should bear the medical costs in this instance.

As soon as it is ascertained that the employee indeed has a long term illness or pre-existing illness which requires long term medical treatment, the employer can choose to issue a letter indicating that they will not cover any medical expenses related to it.

In this instance, the employer is not obligated to pay for medical expenses related to pre-existing illness. This is probably the reason why there is a declaration about this aspect in the application form in the first place. However, as the new hire did not declare medical condition (when required), she has to accept the management's decision.

Most companies have an annual cap on the amount staff can claim for medical expenses. The employer may allow this new hire to claim until she exhausts the cap amount. Any expenses beyond that will be the employee's own, moving forward.

If the employee's medical condition is serious and requires regular time away from work and disrupts work to be carried out effectively, the employer has every right to review her employment and invoke the termination clause in the employment contract.

Such a situation could have been avoided during the hiring process by requiring the selected candidate to undergo a medical check-up and be certified fit for employment by a certified medical doctor before signing the employment contract and coming onboard.

Another way is to include a clause in the application form that an employee may be terminated if found to have given a false declaration. This will ensure proper closure for both parties.




Hi Sue,

Yes, the illness may make her employment untenable.

You are requesting information to understand the impact of this illness on employment and how the company's work conditions may affect her.

It is up to the employee to share any medical details or diagnosis and she can reject this request, but as an employer, you can request her to go for a general health check for employability and request for the illness to be documented by the doctor.

Any hospital or clinic will reject your direct request for information and refer you back to the employee.

Even if your employee agrees to share the report, she may delay because the hospitals take time to provide such information or there is a cost in obtaining the old report, so your faster option is still the health check.

Currently, health checks cannot be done during the circuit breaker period.

From a separate angle, it seems like the employee and company have entered into an agreement predicated on falsehood right from the beginning. You may wish to consider the implications of this and have an honest discussion with her and within the company.

Best Regards,




Hi Sue,

You may need to review the group medical insurance of your company should her illness be covered either fully or partially.

Secondly, you would arrange a full medical checkup for her to determine the seriousness of her illness.

Anyway, whenever an employee reaches a certain age it would trigger a regular medical checkup.




Dear Sue

If you stated in your employment form that candidates declare any illness and she did not, then you can decide on whether or not to take some form of disciplinary action.

And yes, you can request for a medical report.




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