October 15th, 2010

SQ Pregnancy Payout: AWARE’s Response

Singapore Airlines is now giving cabin crew who become pregnant an ex-gratia payout – amounting to two months’ salary.

The company’s policy, which requires pregnant female flight attendants to resign, has been criticised for being discriminatory and unfair.

Crew who are expecting a child receive no maternity benefits, however they can later re-apply to work for the airline as ground staff.

An October 14th Straits Times article entitled Payout for Pregnant SIA Crew reads:

“The Association of Women for Action and Research (Aware), which had earlier described the airline’s approach as ‘unfair’, softened its stance yesterday, saying it was ‘definitely a step in the right direction’. Still, it called for the airline to eventually remove its requirement for pregnant crew to quit flying.”

This is AWARE’s official statement on the latest development, as sent to ST journalist, Sandra Leong.

We are glad to hear of Singapore Airline’s decision to award two months salary to flight attendants who become pregnant. This is definitely a step in the right direction by SIA.

We hope that SIA will eventually remove the requirement for female attendants to quit flying when they are pregnant. Other airlines, such as British Airways, Cathay Pacific and Lufthansa have found it feasible to offer their female attendants alternative employment during pregnancy and SIA as a world class airline should not treat its employees any less favourably in this aspect.

We also hope that MCYS will treat the appeals by SIA female attendants for a further 2 months payment favourably. Ordinary Singaporean women who work in other fields do not lose their jobs when they become pregnant, and receive full maternity benefits. As it is, these female attendants are at a disadvantage compared to them. At the very least, they should receive the full 4 months payment that other Singaporean female employees would have received under more standard employment contracts as required by Singapore law.

We further hope that MCYS will discourage or expressly prohibit the use of clauses which require employees to resign when they are pregnant in order to remain in line with national policy and treat female members of staff fairly and supportively.

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