Singapore's government recently introduced a slew of COVID-19 rules and measures over the last three days - from social distancing in workplaces, to temporary border restrictions, on Friday (13 March).
Following that, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong and Minister of Health Gan Kim Yong, co-chairs of the Multi-Ministry Task Force on COVID-19, announced more measures to be implemented effective 2359 today (16 March).
Here's all the polices that HR leaders and employers need to know. Click on each image or snippet to read the full updates.
Singapore employers advised to implement social distancing in workplaces
On Friday (13 March), the Ministry of Health (MOH) issued an advisory urging employers to put in place measures to reduce close contact between employees, where feasible, in wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. These measures included implementing tele-commuting and video-conferencing, where possible, staggering work hours, and more, along with additional precautionary measures the country is implementing, to slow the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
Singapore introduces new travel advisories and temporary border restrictions
In light of the rapid spread of COVID-19 across Europe, MOH advises Singaporeans to defer all non-essential travel to Italy, France, Spain, and Germany. This is in addition to the existing advisory to defer all travel to Hubei province in mainland China, and non-essential travel to the rest of mainland China, Iran, Japan and the Republic of Korea. Singaporeans are also advised to exercise caution when travelling to all countries affected by COVID-19, especially those which have exported cases.
COVID-19 update: Singapore extends Stay-Home Notice to ASEAN and more
To further reduce the risk of importation of COVID-19, from 16 March 2020, 11.59 pm, all travellers (including Singapore Residents, Long Term Pass holders, and short-term visitors) entering Singapore with recent travel history to ASEAN* countries, Japan, Switzerland, or the United Kingdom within the last 14 days will be issued with a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN). These individuals will have to provide proof of the place where they will serve the 14-day SHN. They may also be swabbed for testing for COVID-19, even if asymptomatic.
These entry approval rules and SHN also apply to foreign domestic workers (FDWs), i.e. in-principle approval holders and returning FDWs travelling to Singapore from any country.
COVID-19: New entry guidelines for Malaysians working in Singapore
As of 16 March 2020, 2359 hours, MOM will require all work pass holders with travel history to ASEAN countries (which includes Malaysia), Japan, Switzerland, or the UK within the last 14 days and planning to enter/return to Singapore, to obtain MOM’s approval before they commence their journey. All travellers from Malaysia must note that the new restrictions do not apply to Malaysians using the sea and land crossings daily.
What employers must know before retrenching employees in Singapore
In view of the evolving COVID-19 situation, the Ministry of Manpower, the National Trades Union Congress, and the Singapore National Employers Federation have jointly updated the Tripartite Advisory on Managing Excess Manpower and Responsible Retrenchment (Advisory). for instance, employers are advised to implement a flexible work schedule for employees instead of retrenchment, and, effective 12 March 2020, are required to inform MOM on any cost-saving measures to be taken.
Photo / Minister of National Development, Lawrence Wong's Facebook page, an example of social distancing carried out at a press conference on Friday.