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The Straits Times
June 9, 2022
The Singapore Police Force (SPF) said on Wednesday (June 8) that it does not penalise officers who are pregnant, and takes a firm stance against workplace discrimination practices within its ranks.
It was responding to allegations by former police officer Reema Razif, 32, who in a Facebook post that was widely circulated said she was told her performance review was affected by her pregnancy, and was advised to take up projects when on maternity leave.
"The SPF does not penalise officers who are pregnant and instead, provides alternative work arrangements to ensure their well-being," said the police in a statement.
"During Reema's four pregnancies between 2016 and 2021, she was given light duty assignments that were primarily desk-bound. Reema was not asked to work while she was on paid maternity leave," the statement added.
"The SPF takes a firm stance against workplace discrimination practices. There are avenues for SPF officers to raise complaints on discriminatory workplace practices to their unit Commander, Police Headquarters (HQ) or the Ministry HQ, and such complaints are looked into seriously," it said.
Ms Reema, who joined the SPF as a corporal in 2011 and has four children, resigned from her job as a sergeant on May 2.
In a Facebook post on Tuesday (June 7), she wrote that the job was her life for 11 years, and she gave 100 per cent to it, adding that she had no regrets "because I loved every bit of it".
She also wrote that unfortunately, this was never enough, adding: "Being told that my performance grade dropped 'cos you were pregnant what' and being advised to 'take up some projects during your maternity leave' was not something I could resonate with."
Ms Reema, 32, told The Straits Times she was promoted once in her career, to sergeant, in 2015. She began to question why many juniors were promoted so quickly.
Around 2019, her annual performance grading had dropped from a B to a C, which she felt did not reflect the work she had put in.
She told ST on Wednesday (June 8): "When I asked my supervisor why, she said: 'It's because you were pregnant.'"
Said Ms Reema: "I was pregnant and working on the frontlines during Covid-19, but that went unnoticed."
Ms Reema - who has a boy aged four, and three girls, aged between one and five - also acknowledged that each time she was pregnant, she would be taken off patrol duties and assigned office roles, such as manning the armoury counter.
In its statement, the police said: "Reema received a performance grade similar to many of her colleagues in the Police Land Division, while she was in service."
The police statement also noted that Ms Reema had written about her police work on social media in April 2020. As public sector rules disallow officers from commenting on issues related to their agency without authorisation, she was advised by her supervisor for not seeking clearance, but was not penalised for the incident.
"Reema resigned from the SPF on May 2 for personal reasons," the police said.
"The SPF builds fair and progressive workplaces for our employees. Many of our female officers excel in their career, balancing work and family responsibilities," it added.
"We thank Reema for her contributions to the SPF and we wish her all the best in her future endeavours."
Ms Reema, who is now a stay-home mother looking after her children, told ST: "I've no clue what I'll do yet but working is a need, not a want. We have to finance their school, pay our helper and I cannot leave this burden all to my husband."
Her husband is a civil servant who also works shifts.
She said she wished to see more recognition for pregnant employees, adding: "After I posted my story, many women with similar experiences reached out to me. I hope to create awareness and benefit women in the workplace."
She said she does not believe the treatment of pregnant employees is a widespread problem in the police, but added that she spoke from her own experience.
"I have no regrets working in the police force. It was my passion and I loved to help people," she said. "And I never felt that I shouldn't serve just because I was pregnant."