Employers should also continue to stagger start times of employees who need to return to the workplace, and implement flexible working hours. Social gatherings at the workplace are to be avoided.
In light of the recent spike in COVID-19 community cases in Singapore, some of which are currently unlinked and have resulted in the formation of community clusters, the Ministry of Manpower has stated that from 1 May 2021, employers should allow employees to work from home if they are able to do so.
In an update to its existing Safe Management Measures, the Ministry has shared the following updated directives for employers:
- Employers should allow employees to work from home if they are able to do so.
- Employers should continue to stagger start times of employees who need to return to the workplace, and implement flexible working hours.
- Social gatherings at the workplace should also be avoided.
- Public agencies working in the Novena area such as the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore will be asking their staff to work from home where possible.
These measures are intended to help lower transmission risks by reducing interactions at the workplace and in public places, including public transport, as shared by Singapore's Ministry of Health (MOH).
In addition to workplace measures, Singapore has also announced new measures to reduce the level of interactions in the community:
- All individuals should limit their overall number of social interactions, to not more than two per day, whether visiting another household or meeting with friends/ family members in a public place.
- The following additional measures will be implemented from 1 through 14 May 2021 (unless otherwise stated):
- Malls and large standalone stores: The occupancy limit will be reduced to one person per 10 sqm of Gross Floor Area (GFA), from one person per 8 sqm of GFA;
- Popular malls (Lucky Plaza, Peninsula Plaza): The odd and even date entry restrictions on Sundays will be reinstated*.
- Outdoor barbecue pits and campsites: These will be closed to the public, and includes barbecue pits in parks, HDB estates, condominiums and country clubs.
- Attractions: With effect from 7 May 2021 through 14 May 2021, all attractions that have received MTI’s prior approval will be permitted to operate at 50% operating capacity, a reduction from 65%.
Further details will be released by the relevant sector leads shortly.
*Those whose National Registration Identification Card (NRIC) or Foreign Identification Number (FIN) end in even digits (0,2,4,6,8) can only visit the two malls on even dates, whilst those whose NRIC/FIN numbers end in odd digits (1,3,5,7,9) can only visit on the odd dates.
Earlier on in end-March, Singapore's Ministry of Health announced that effective 5 April, up to 75% of the employees (who are presently able to work from home) can be at the workplace at any one time, up from 50%.
Among the measures to be followed, include rules such as:
Employers are encouraged to support employees in working from home
Risk of transmission remains. Employers are encouraged to support as many employees in working from home as possible. This will help to limit the number of employees exposed at the workplace at any point in time, and reduce crowding in common areas, e.g. pantries, toilets, lifts. Having more employees work from home will also help sustain business operations should a case emerge at the workplace.
Control and monitor access to the workplace
Control access at the workplace to only essential employees and authorised visitors. Employers must use the SafeEntry visitor management system to record the entry of all personnel (including employees and visitors). All employees and visitors should check-in and check-out of workplaces using SafeEntry to help MOH in establishing potential transmission chains. Personnel who are unwell (including having a fever upon temperature screening) must be refused entry to the workplace.
Allow flexible hours for employees who can work-from-home but return to the workplace
For employees who can work-from-home but who return to the workplace, employers should allow for flexible workplace hours. This is not to shorten work hours, but to allow flexibility to reduce the duration spent in the workplace, while also working from home during the day. Eg, employers could allow a proportion of their employees to work in the workplace from 10am-4pm, while fulfilling their remaining work hours from home. Employers could also allow their employees to work from home in the morning, and only return to the workplace in the afternoon (e.g. from 1-5pm).
More details on the existing Safe Management Measures can be found here.
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