Singapore employers urged to develop business continuity plans amidst virus outbreak

Singapore employers urged to develop business continuity plans amidst virus outbreak

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In light of the region's continuing battle against the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV, or Wuhan virus), Enterprise Singapore (ESG) has released a new advisory for businesses, in line with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Ministry of Manpower's (MOM) earlier advisories.

Amongst the various points stated in the advisory, Enterprise Singapore has stressed the importance of businesses being prepared for different scenarios, "although the current situation in Singapore is stable and there are no signs of community spread."

Hence, the agency recommended that businesses start developing business continuity plans, if they have yet to do so.

To facilitate this, ESG has announced that with the support of the Singapore Business Federation, it is preparing a Business Continuity Guide as a reference point for businesses in developing their plans.

"The guide will serve as a general reference for enterprises in planning for a pandemic caused by influenza and other novel respiratory infections, and recommend actions enterprises may take at each alert code (as determined by the MOH). This guide will be made available soon on our website," it said.

Apart from this, ESG has also issued a reminder for employers to obtain a health and travel declaration from employees, on whether they have travelled to China recently, or have any upcoming travel plans to China.

For employees who have returned from China, employers are, once again, urged to closely monitor their health for 14 days upon their return to Singapore. [Refer to MOM's advisory for full details]

Additionally, employees who are served a Quarantine Order will be deemed to be on paid sick leave, with the period of absence from work to be treated as paid hospitalisation leave. This will be counted as part of the employee's hospitalisation leave eligibility, under their employment contracts and collective agreements per the Employment Act.

Quarantine Order Allowance Scheme

The government has clarified on recently circulated rumours that the quarantine allowances will be given to tourists from Wuhan, stating that these allowances will only be given to Singapore-based employers with employees under quarantine, and to self-employed Singaporeans/PRs placed under quarantine.

As of yesterday (29 January), the Ministry of Health has released information on the Quarantine Order Allowance Scheme (QOA), which employers should note:

Under this scheme, claims of S$100/day can be made by the two groups mentioned above, and per the table below (Right-click on image to open a larger file in new tab).



Sector-specific advisories for employers

In similar updates, the various government bodies and statutory boards have also released nine specific advisories for their dedicated sectors, with the links shared below:

Measures taken to safeguard employee wellbeing

In view of the above, employers in Singapore are stepping up their precautionary measures in safeguarding the wellbeing of their employees. For instance, Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) has announced in an email to suppliers a set of measures to take place with immediate effect on 29 January.

  1. Contractors who have travelled to China in the last 14 days or are travelling to China, must immediately declare their travel details to their RWS contact person, and submit a completed Mandatory Travel Declaration and Temperature Recording Form.
  2. Upon returning from the trip, contractors shall monitor and record their temperatures on a daily basis for the next 14 days in the same form. At the end of the 14-day temperature monitoring period, contractors are required to submit the completed Mandatory Travel Declaration and Temperature Recording Form to their RWS contact person.
  3. At the resort level, the resort is also conducting temperature screening for its casino and attraction guests, with thermal scanners deployed to detect guests with elevated body temperature.
  4. An advisory has also been placed at all the hotel's front desks, to remind guests to observe personal hygiene and to contact the front desk for assistance should they feel unwell.
  5. Hand sanitisers have also been extended to front-of-house i.e. hotel front desks, ground floor lift lobbies, restaurants, escalators, etc.

This article does not constitute as medical advice.

Photo / 123RF

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