Vaccinations are voluntary, but workforces with a higher rate of vaccination could be more resilient against outbreaks. That said, employers who penalise their employees who decline vaccinations should be referred to MOM, Minister Teo noted.

A tripartite guidance on employer policies for vaccinating the workforce against COVID-19 will be released "at an appropriate time", Singapore's Manpower Minister Josephine Teo has stated.

She also noted that while employers and unions are mindful that vaccinations are voluntary, workforces with a higher rate of vaccination are likely to be more resilient against outbreaks. This, in turn, ensures the survival of the business, and is "ultimately also in the workers' interest".

Minister Teo said this in response to a series of questions by MP Yip Hon Weng this week, in which he asked for an update on the review of vaccination policies at workplaces with high risk of exposure; and details on redeployment/dismissal should an employee not vaccinated.

To this, Minister Teo shared that the tripartite partners are still in discussions on acceptable employer policies on this matter. More importantly, she noted that the Ministry has not received complaints of employers punishing or penalising their employees who decline vaccination. 

She urged that if any dispute arises, "parties should approach MOM for case-specific advice and assistance."

In a separate parliamentary question, MP Patrick Tay asked, of the 36,000 PMETs who are earning a monthly basic salary of less than S$3,000 as at 31 December 2020, which industry sectors they belong to, and what their occupations are.

In response, Minister Teo said that based on 2019 estimates, Managers and Executives (M&Es) earning a monthly basic salary of S$3,000 and below were more commonly found in health and social services, education, design and advertising.

"They were predominantly younger, having been in their current jobs for less than two years. They were also distributed across many occupations, including nurses, primary school teachers, accountants, graphic designers and part-time polytechnic lecturers. Findings from the 2020 survey will be available later this year."

She also added that the Ministry has "progressively strengthened" employment protections for M&Es over the years. "Most recently in 2019, MOM removed the S$4,500 salary threshold for M&Es to be covered for core provisions under the Employment Act, such as holiday and sick leave entitlements. With this, all M&Es are covered for these core provisions.

"MOM will continue to work closely with tripartite partners to ensure that employment laws remain relevant and responsive to labour market conditions and the needs of our workforce."

Photo / 123RF

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