Employer Will Face Tougher Workplace Curbs If Staff Gets Infected
SINGAPORE – The Ministry of Health (MOH) warned employers here that it will impose more stringent restrictions on a particular workplace if any of a company’s employees are found to be positive with COVID-19, reported The Straits Times on Tuesday morning (7 September, SGT).
“In particular, employers will be required to put in place a maximum work-from-home (WFH) requirement over a 14-day period should one or more of their workers be found to have contracted COVID-19 and have returned to their workplace.”
“This means that everyone in the company who can WFH will be required to do so. Those who are working from home should minimise social gatherings and leave their homes only for essential activities during this 14-day period.”
The Health Ministry also announced that social gatherings at workplaces, including the office, will not be permitted starting from Wednesday (8 September).
MOH stated this on Monday after recent COVID clusters in workplaces have surfaced due to lax compliance with safe management measures (SMM), particularly at workers’ canteens and pantries, where staff tend to interact with their colleagues sans their face masks.
The Health Ministry added that it will announce more details soon.
On Monday, the head of Singapore’s multi-ministry task force against COVID-19, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, clarified that the government is not changing the maximum workplace capacity of 50 percent.
“We have already provided that guideline that 50 percent of staff who can work from home can now go back to the office. That remains, we’re not changing the guideline,” he explained.
“But we’re asking all employers to test their staff who are working onsite regularly… in order to ensure that their workplaces remain safe.”
In line with this, the authorities plan to distribute antigen rapid test (ART) kits to firms in industries not subject to compulsory COVID-19 testing to help with the weekly testing of their employees in a 2-month period, with each company receiving 8 test kits per on-site staff.
“We hope that the distribution of ART kits to both households and companies will help to instil a culture of responsibility in administering regular self-tests. This will become an important tool in the new normal, so that we can dampen the impact of Covid-19 without having to impose heightened alerts,” added the Health Ministry.