To adapt to the uncertainty that COVID-19 brings, the government of Singapore has adopted some policies. These policies are to comply with international regulations while ensuring the safety of the workplace.
Singapore Employer Requirements
- Consistently monitor and follow the guidance and advice given by reliable authorities, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ministry of Health (MOH), and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM)
- Evaluate the risks faced by their workers and visitors, and take measures to alleviate those risks. Vulnerable employees, such as colleagues of age, with impaired immunity, underlying health issues, those working far away from their home country, and pregnant women should be paid special attention to ensure their safety
- Safeguard the workplace by keeping workers updated about the new protocols and preventive measures
- Encourage remote working if their contracts permit it. If not, work around them to provide flexible working arrangements
- Evaluate existing policies of travel, holidays, sick leave, and medical benefits to encourage a fair approach in line with government policies
- Employees facing respiratory symptoms are to be allowed a 50day sick leave
- Employees quarantined or affected by COVID-19 will receive a paid hospitalization leave
- Evaluate insurance policies and instructions given by insurers
- Provide updated contact details for staff and management
- Develop procedures for employees who have traveled to infected regions and are at risk of contracting COVID-19, including those who report symptoms.
Employer’s Duty of Care
The Singaporean Workplace Safety and Health Act (Cap. 354A) requires all employers to provide reasonable health and safety conditions for all employees; otherwise they are reliable to face criminal charges. All employers must stay updated with local and international health organizations’ current status and advice and clearly communicate any development with their employees to curtail the spread of the virus.
Precautionary measures such as temperature screenings, sanitization of common areas, availability of protective equipment (masks, gloves, alcohol wipes, sanitizers) must be strictly implemented at the workplace. Food places report health declarations each time they report for work and provide protective equipment to the frontline staff. This includes workers handling the cash flow and other devices. If they cannot frequently wash their hands, hand sanitizers must be placed close to them. They are also instructed to wipe down common hard surfaces regularly.
Employers are also responsible for providing their companies with contact training exercises relating while encouraging employees to sign travel and health declaration forms so that the HR department can be kept updated on their condition.
The Government of Singapore has suspended travel for all non-essential business activities. Lately, the government has also issued additional border restrictions measures. Travelers (Singapore citizens, residents, and long-term pass holders) will be given a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) when they enter Singapore. Travelers with a travel history to Hubei in China will be quarantined. Short-term visitors will, under no circumstances, be given permits to enter or transit through Singapore. Exceptions will be made for the spouses or children of Singaporean citizens and permanent residents.
Employees on SHN will have to complete their time in government-designated facilities. The Singaporean government will handle their cost of staying. However, this does not apply to those who had left Singapore from 27 March 2020.
Foreigners holding long-term passes wanting to visit Singapore from another country, in line with the SHN requirement, must request permission from the relevant authorities before commencing their travels.
To keep yourself updated on further amendments and updates by the Singaporean government, related to COVID-19, you may visit the Singapore Ministry of Health website: https://www.moh.gov.sg/covid-19