Singapore, like many other countries, is amending its laws and regulations in light of the world-wide coronavirus pandemic. Here are answers to some common questions affecting employers with operations or interests in Singapore. Please note that the situation changes daily if not hourly, so make sure to always check the latest information published by the government.
Must employers take measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19?
The government of Singapore has ordered that companies implement work from home or telecommuting arrangements wherever possible. Employers must also ensure there is adequate ventilation in the workplace and take the temperature of all individuals entering the workplace.
My employees must be on site to be able to complete their jobs and it would be impossible for me to have them work remotely. What should I do?
The government is aware that working remotely is not always possible and has issued guidance for employers in this situation. The government has stated that it will consider all of a company’s circumstances and instructed businesses to implement safe distancing measures in the workplace.
What measures should my company implement to comply with the government’s orders?
The government has ordered that employers must:
- Segregate workers into two or more groups to avoid or minimize physical interaction between the groups;
- Make reasonable steps to ensure a distance of at least one meter between each person in the workplace;
- Stagger reporting and dismissal times;
- Ensure that any worker who exhibits any specific symptom (defined as coughing, sneezing, breathlessness or a runny nose) or is otherwise physically unwell reports their condition to the employer.
Am I allowed to have customers or non-workers in my establishment?
Yes, however all reasonable steps must be taken to ensure that:
- Seats (including workstations and meeting rooms) are separated by at least one meter or, in case of fixed seating, that alternate seats are unoccupied;
- Every individual in a queue or who remains in any area of the establishment remains at least one meter apart from others; and
- Apart from workers, any individuals who arrive in the workplace (such as delivery persons) do not arrive at the same time or remain for longer than necessary.
Can I still have in-person meetings with my employees?
The government has provided that all in-person interactions must be cancelled or postponed unless they are critical to the employer’s operations.
Can I prevent employees or other persons from entering my business if they are showing symptoms of COVID-19?
Yes. Workers and other individuals must not enter any workplace if they are showing signs of sickness. Employers must also take the temperature of all individuals entering the workplace.