The most common violation of SMM at workplaces is failing to ensure employees who are able to work-from-home do so, MOM’s checks found.

On Tuesday (20 July), Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower (MOM) released a Facebook post stating that since the start of Phase Two (HA) on 16 May 2021, the Ministry has taken action on 66 companies for failing to comply with safety management measures (SMM) at workplaces.

MOM found the most common violation of SMM at workplaces is failing to ensure employees who are able to work-from-home do so.

This step was taken after the Ministry received over 3,500 pieces of feedback relating to workplace SMM.

“Some of this feedback could have been averted if employers had made adjustments to allow their employees to work from home or communicated their operational needs clearly,” the Ministry of Manpower shared.

For the unacquainted, the main SMM at workplaces include:

  • Work-from-home to remain the default;
  • When employees are in the office, they must observe a safe distance of at least 1m;
  • Clear safe distancing markers should be placed at common areas of the workplace to reduce crowding, especially during peak hours;
  • Staggering start times and allowing flexible workplace hours;
  • No cross-deployment across workplaces or worksites;
  • No social gatherings at the workplace;
  • Meal breaks must be taken individually and at staggered times; and
  • Masks must be worn in the workplace at all times.

Thus, the Ministry has reminded all employers that work-from-home remains the default as Singapore pivots back to Phase Two (HA), starting 22 July 2021 (Thursday).

“This means that employers must allow all employees who are able to work-from-home to do so,” MOM said.

“For employees who are unable to work from home due to the nature of their work or when employees are required to return to the workplace on an ad hoc basis for work that cannot be done from home, employers should clearly explain to these employees why they are required to be back at the workplace.”

Per MOM’s post, companies that violate SMM can be fined, or even ordered to cease operations for serious breaches. Additionally, according to a report by Straits Times, employers who are found breaching SMM can be fined up to S$1,000, and repeat offenders up to S$2,000.

For the latest SMM requirements at the workplace (Phase Two), visit here.

Image / Unsplash

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